We sometimes come across our fellow brothers and sisters with whom we are not sure how to deal with. In the end, it is still with love and acceptance, forgiveness and understanding. May God have mercy on us.
I may be blind to my own role in this relationship. Help me see the truth about myself. Apply the healing power of Your Word to my heart and mind. Deliver me from any stronghold that causes me to harm people with my words and actions. Save me from self-destructive patterns.
I struggle in my relationship with this person. I need You to give me wisdom on how to love her well. You are my shield and defender. Show me how, when and where to erect boundaries in our relationship. I believe You are my healer and I trust You to guard my heart and mind.
I need Your specific directions on how to interact with her.
I want to love her with a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Help me to love her courageously. Fill me with Your truth and compel me to fearlessly tell the truth with love. Let Your perfect love cast out all of my fears related to our relationship.
I surrender to You what I think our relationship should be. Please transform it so that it honors You.
In Jesus, I pray. Amen
Adapted from Bible Study Tools
I tried to look for some statistics, and I was right.
Although Malaysia has among the highest literacy rate in South East Asia, out of 85% of Malaysians who read regularly, 77% of them prefer newspapers, 3% read magazines, 3% read books and 1.6% read comics.1
First, let me qualify myself. When I say read, I mean books. I suppose there are those who argue that reading articles, newspaper, magazines still count as reading. Maybe, but it cannot be compared to reading books, where your mind works in articulating the thoughts of a non-fiction author or imagining in the mind of a fiction author. It is different. Online articles, newspaper and magazines more or less gives you the information, the data. They are important and useful, but they cannot be compared to reading a book.
So, I do not know the year of the report, but if we were to assume the same three percent now, at the current population of about 30 million, only 180,000 Malaysian read books!
I also found this chart on World Culture Score for Reading that is quite interesting.2
People in India read the most, at 10.7 hours a week, followed by Thailand 9.4 hours a week and China 8 hours a week. Amazingly, these top 3 are from Asia. There is no data in the chart for Malaysia. Click here for the other percentages. (Note: I do not have access to the full report, and as such I do not know what reading does this refer to.)
The Star just did an online survey on the reading habits of Malaysians.3 They have not presented the results yet, and I wonder if there would be much of a change to it.
The pertinent question then is this: what are we losing out from this lack of reading?
I think a whole lot. What do you think?
Go grab a book and read it. You will be very much enriched. I promise.
And by the way, I found this article absolutely brilliant and downright witty. Take a look: When You Start To Read More, These 10 Things Will Happen.
1 Malaysian Bar
2 Charts Bin
3 The Star
I have certainly slowed down a lot on reading this year. I thought I had wanted to spend time on other areas of my life but now that we are about to move into the fourth quarter of the year, I wished I had set my mind on reading instead.
Why you may ask?
It is because I really missed reading.
What joy it is to find a book with a story you hope you will live in for a few days. What joy it is to find gems of truth forming in the pages that you are reading. What joy it is when you suddenly understand differently or learnt something completely unbeknownst to you. What joy it is when the characters find the very resolution you know they would and should. What joy it is when you can't wait to turn to the next page to find out what happens next. What joy it is when you read the last word of the book and breathe a sigh of contentment, and yet with sadness lay it down.
But like everyone else, I have only so much time. So I need to manage it well and lay aside what is not important, and read.
What I need to do now though is to find a good book.
Salvation and Sovereignty, A Molinist Approach
by Kenneth Keathley
I bought another book! I read the introduction in the preview section and I wanted to read more. Kenneth Keathley grew up within the Reformed tradition but found himself struggling with Calvinism. He sought to bring it all into both being consistent and biblical through Molinism. But before I do read it though, I need to get the basics in place.
My good friend Noel told me that Molinism is an effective alternative to a Calvinistic understanding of divine foreknowledge. But I need to know the difference between Arminianism, which is what I hold, and Molinism or middle knowledge.
I found this article by Roger Olson which was helpful: Are Arminian Theology and Middle Knowledge Compatible? Olson did not give an affirmative yes to this. He said middle knowledge is "knowledge whereby God knows not only what will happen but would happen...once one believes that God uses middle knowledge to render certain that every creature does what they do by creating them and placing them in circumstances where he knows they will “freely” do something, then determinism is at the door if not in the living room and that is inconsistent with Arminianism’s basic impulses. It makes God the author of sin and evil even if only inadvertently.
Now I am re-reading the chapter on the myth of "Arminians Do Not Believe in Predestination" in Olson's Arminian Theology, Myths and Realities, and here is what I found important:
"Predestination is a biblical concept that classical Arminians accept, though they interpret it differently than Calvinists. Predestination is God's sovereign decree to elect believers in Jesus Christ, and it includes God's foreknowledge of those believers' faith."
"God foreknows every person's ultimate and final decision regarding Jesus Christ, and on that basis God predestines people to salvation or damnation."
"The first and most important point is that (Arminius) conceived predestination as primarily the predestination of Jesus Christ to be Savior of sinners."
My family and I visited City Discipleship Presbyterian Church (CDPC) Puchong this morning. I had planned to pay a visit for some time now and we finally did. It is a very pleasant family church.
We liked it that the kids join in the worship and later break off to their Sunday School classes before the sermon starts. We liked it that the service begins early at 9:30am. We liked it that we do not need to worry about the carpark and had some time to fellowship with one another after service. We liked it that the people there were so warm and inclusive. We liked it that it is so near our home.
The message by the pastor was from John 15:1-17 on Jesus being the vine and the disciples the branches. He did not preach in point form but I did pick up these three major strands:
1. We are commanded to remain in Jesus. Remaining in him means not to leave or stray away. Remaining in Christ means remaining in his Word. The focus on Jesus is also a focus on his revelation through the Word
2. If you don't remain in him, you will be cut, thrown away and burned. And if we do remain in him, there will be pruning and it may be painful. I love his usage of the illustration of Euthace in CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawntreader to explain the pruning process. Euthace was the most selfish of all boys and he had been converted into a dragon because of his disobedience.
Part 3 from The Voyage of the Dawntreader:
“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
3. We are commanded to love one another, and to be fruitful. And when we are fruitful, glory goes to God who is the gardener (v.1). Pastor mentioned a jackfruit tree he once saw that had fruits on its entire trunk and said that is how we should be fruitful with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). He said he was sorry that he did not take a picture but I suppose it should look like this. And this is how evident our bearing of fruit should be: our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The lesson for us is how are we to fulfil Jesus commandment to love one another. I have been reading a book published by The Voice of the Martyrs on martyrs in this contemporary times. It was not at all an easy read. It was heart breaking and I had been thinking on what I should be doing. I am praying about it. We must indeed love one another.
‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)
Photo source: dgmila
A82, Jalan Tuanku 2
Taman Salak Selatan