Monday, September 28, 2009

Up Close and Personal

Many years ago, I was told by my brother, who was then pursuing a degree in Engineering, that there is a perfect distance between the Moon and the Earth. In fact, if the Moon were to be any nearer, the Earth could be subjected to monumental disasters such as flood that could wipe up the entire mankind. The same theory applies to the Sun. The perfect distance between the Sun and the Earth meant that earthlings can live and grow vegetation for consumption. Somehow, the gravitational forces among the planets are in perfect harmony. Not an inch more or less. Such intricate accuracy is necessary to ensure the survival of mankind.

Recently, I watched the movie “Knowing” starring Nicolas Cage. I realized that scientists themselves marveled at the fact that every planet is in perfect distance from the Sun. There is an unseen force governing the rotational of each planet and the distance among them. In the movie, the Sun “overheats” thereby destroying the earth. Even the temperature in the Sun is in perfect balance.

Numerous program in the History Channel are dedicated to the study of natural forces and draw the same conclusion that Someone Greater Than Us are at work. In fact, there was one particular program that maps comparison between the prophecies in the Bible and the disasters that are happening around us. I am not sure if the producer were a Christian but the conclusion that spins off from the program was: “So far the Bible had proven itself to be true, in forth telling future events but at the very end, Christians believe the end days will come, that they would have to stand before God, for judgment.”

As surely as the sun rise from the east and set in the west, God exists, irregardless of what we think. For me, since He exists and He said He exists, I might as well believe in Him! Recently, a friend shared with me her problems and I said I would pray for her. She replied politely “Oh, but that’s personal, I wouldn’t want my personal problems to get in your way!” But this is it! The God of Universe actually wants to get involved with our lives and our problems. In fact, He has demonstrated that He wanted to get “His hands dirty” by sending Jesus to us, to go through what we go through, so that He could minister to us!

Would any sound parent say to his new-born baby “Ok, so you did a poop! But you know what? You should get it cleaned yourself as I really don’t want to get my hands dirty” Of course not! When our accident prone toddler was beginning to walk, would we turn to the child and say “Now it’s the time for you to learn to walk; I will be standing by the side and you just go on ahead?” Not a chance! We would probably hold their hands, and walk countless times (even beyond exhaustions!). This is the way our Heavenly Father parent us. He holds our hands when we are going to fall; carries us when we are too tired to continue. Parenting originates from Him!

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love”

Therefore, let us not hesitate in bringing our problems to Him, however great or small.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

No Shortcut Please!

The past 2 months have been a wonderful time for Clarissa. First, she contracted H1N1 and experienced God’s healing within 24 hours, literally; then, she witnessed God’s protection over the entire family including mummy, the one who was most likely to be sick since they were quarantined together for 24/7.

Her faith started to grow and little by little, she was applying the power of prayer over her school life. Ms Ng, her form teacher, is unusually strict and stern. She has a tendency to apply capital punishment on the entire class even though there were only a handful of culprits responsible. On numerous occasions, Clarissa managed to escape scorch free, miraculously through prayer.

Then, without my knowledge, Clarissa was bold enough to apply the power of prayer in her spelling! In her school, it is normal to get 20 new Chinese characters for each spelling session and on average, each character has more than 8 strokes! I for one would have difficulty in reproducing these words without practice but my dear daughter thought that with prayer, there was no need to revise and the words could just come to her, naturally.

When I reviewed her spelling book, I was shocked to learn that she scored a mere 20%! This was the first time she had fared so badly. Upon interrogation, she confessed that she had only “prayed” about it! I was tempted to laugh about her silliness but almost immediately, I was reminded that I too failed in my own ways.

Having become a Christian, I took God’s grace for granted. On countless occasions, I had traded newspapers for the Bible, exchanged entertainment times for quiet times, and to top it all, I thought it was alright to occasionally sin, since I am already saved!

As Paul put it aptly: “So then my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, more so in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence”

In order to be aligned with God and His will, we have to continually obey Him, read His words and spend time praying in His Presence. If we fail in any of these, how could we live a righteous life effectively? Afterall, a snowball begins with a single snow flake. If we are not on guard on the little things in our life that are unpleasing to God, then in time to come, these could develop into a bigger sin.

I was especially saddened when my non-Christian friend Angeling confided in me that her husband might be having an affair with a married Christian woman! I was completely speechless.

“The Lord knows those who are His. Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness”

We could laugh about our children silliness; but our own sins or failing to lead righteous lives are definitely no laughing matter to God. I would truly appreciate your prayers for Angeling and the other Christian.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome to Kampar!

I received an unexpected visit from Joseph kindy’s principal. While we were talking about the business and Malaysia's economy, I couldn’t help but to bring up the problems I face with Joseph. “Joseph? He is a very stable and independent boy. He likes to ask questions and chat with his teachers.” If I hadn’t known Christine for close to 3 years, I would have insisted that she has got the wrong boy. Before I could voice my surprise at his prefect-type behaviour in school, the bullets start to come!

“However, when Joseph first came to Fungates, he was, in my experience, the most difficult child to deal with!” She went on to elaborate how every day for 6 months, she had to hug Joseph, who was then 2, so that he will not hurt himself, roll on the floor or create a disruptive scene for others. Normally, based on her experience, a new student would only take 2 months to settle down. Christine, being a fervent Christian, would take time to pray over difficult students and when it comes to Joseph, she was at wits’ end! In fact, during that period, she had stopped wearing accessories as Joseph would end up tearing them apart! I could feel myself sinking into my seat, hoping that the chair could spread its wings to cover me!

When we first moved back to Kampar 3 years ago, we had difficulty in locating a good kindergarten. After much hunting, Ray decided that we should send our children to Fungates in Ipoh! Therefore, for one whole year, there would be a frantic parent driving 160km a day just to send their preschool children to Ipoh. It was regarded as madness by many but to us, we felt that we made the right decision as we had wanted Clarissa and Joseph to focus on character building that was only available under Fungates syallabus. However, the traveling started to take a toil on us and 1 month after we had started, I asked Christine if she might consider starting a branch in Kampar. She had received previous requests before but as she was expanding her kindy in Ipoh, she didn’t have time nor the resources to consider a branch that is 40km away.

After 6 months of clogging up road miles, I approached Christine again with the same request. To my surprise, this time, she said she would think about it! “And you know, at that point, Joseph was still crying. He was loud and disruptive. By the time he settled down, half the day had gone!” she said to me. “There was a parent from Kampar who sent her hyperactive child to us as no kindy in Kampar could take him. Under my care and praying hands, the boy settled down within 2 months but Joseph, he was quite a handful!” she continued. “I asked God if there were something wrong with my teaching methods, my prayers etc. Therefore when you asked me to come to Kampar, I told God that if He could made Joseph stop crying, I will definitely consider as I know that He is really speaking to me!” The next day, Christine was late to school but she asked her staff if Joseph were difficult and much to her surprise, Joseph “decided” to stop crying! In fact, from then on, Joseph had stopped crying endlessly but would merely whine.

I was really humbled when Christine related the incident to me as I had no idea what they had to put up with then, although I did suspect that Joseph was difficult. Now, 3 years on, Christine runs the biggest kindergarten in Kampar that is not only well received locally but attracts students from satellite towns and villages. Her testimony truly warms my heart as she concludes “Your son has brought me to Kampar!”. I couldn’t believe that God had used Joseph to speak to her but then again, nothing is impossible with God!

The Antenna is Working!

Yesterday, the day that I blogged about Joseph’s short circuit (labeled as Joseph’s Baggage), he asked me about watching TV again before his bedtime. As I was bracing myself at his “bring down the house” response, I told him “Yes, you may…” and before I could continue, he quickly chipped in with a broad smile “I know, I am supposed to watch for 10 minutes only, right?”

What? There was no stomping of feet? No unbearable cries that led my neighbours to believe that someone in my house had been torturing a child for the last "n" months!!! I could almost sing Handel Messiah chorus "Hallelujah!" Finally, Joseph's antenna is working properly! I can hardly believe it! It is too good to be true. To celebrate this special occasion, I did what an overjoyed mum would: to allow him 20 minutes of TV instead! God is slowing changing and transforming Joseph.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joseph vs Curly

Lately, for some strange reasons, my mum has been making comparisons between my Joseph, age 4 and her Curly, a poodle, age 1.5. You could call it mothers’ kiasu syndrome but I actually find it quite entertaining! Yesterday, my mum went on again, saying that Curly has a clear sense of time; when its time to take her for a stroll, she would automatically wait by the door and get real bouncy when my mum starts to put on her shoes; Joseph, on the other hand, has been whining since morning about why his music class hasn’t started when his class is in the afternoon! The other hot topic is Curly’s good behaviour at home, never whining nor barking unnecessarily; Joseph, well, as expected, whines more than he speaks!

As his mother, I felt the need to defend Joseph! Afterall, he could write his alphabets and count up to 15. Surely these are stuff that Curly can’t do! More importantly, Joseph has been blessed to be given a free will to decide whether to obey his parents whereas Curly is just an animal with limited choices to make! I for one know that Joseph has been struggling to do the right thing. As with all children of God, we are all given a free will to choose.

Some of us choose to put our faith in Jesus; some choose otherwise. Some of us choose to obey our parents and adhere to the law; while others might not. In my opinion, the most sacred choice we could make is to choose our eternal home. As Max Lucado puts it aptly: “You can afford many wrong choices in life. You can choose the wrong career and survive, the wrong city and survive, the wrong house and survive. You can even choose the wrong mate and survive. But there is one choice that must be made correctly and that is your eternal destiny.” Such complicated choices are unavailable to our pet, Curly. But for Joseph, I pray that as he grows, he will make the right decision as to where he will spend his eternal life.

Joseph's Baggage

The only other person who could beat my pessimism in our family would probably be Joseph. Although he is only 4 years old, he has a truck load of child-like skeptism. A typical evening would be for him to whine about not being allowed to watch TV (despite having spent over one hour in front of Disney channel) before bedtime. Each time I would agree to allow him an extra 10 minutes of TV, but he would still think that I wouldn’t stick to my side of the agreement. Hence, he would upset himself (including those around him) by crying for half an hour about this myth that he has created! (which by the way, has already exceeded the extra 10 minutes that I gave him)

As much as I have tried to assure and even remind him that I have always stuck to my promise, Joseph insists on being upset. Somehow, in his brain, there is a short circuit which is beyond my reach and comprehension. His mindset is fixed in that whatever mummy said, the response is no although the answer is yes!

Through his character, Joseph humbles me and helps me to learn about my relationship with God. I could see myself in his shoes, complaining about the situation around me; Compared to many, I have much to thank God for but I was blinded as I chose to focus on the not so perfect situation in my life. Once I was so determined to prove God wrong that I wrote down a list of unanswered prayer against those He had answered. To my greatest amazement, He had proved me wrong instead.

At a recent talk by Beth Moore, she shared that a lot of us have our mountains to face. Some of us have the faith to pray for the mountains to move aside and the mountains (or problems) did move!; for some, there is a need to climb the mountain; for others, God may cut a path through their mountains (ha, a shortcut to solving our problems) and finally, there were some pessimists, like Joseph and me, prefer to cling onto our mountains! Our focus should always be on Jesus, and not on our problems, our unanswered prayers or our emotions, else we may miss out on experiencing the joy that comes forth from answered prayer! Its time to stop clinging onto our mountains and start allowing God to work!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Generation Blessing

As I saw my dad waving to his friend in a distant, he turned to me and said “Both his father and grandfather had worked with me before, we need to show kindness to this family and their children’s families continuously wherever we can”. Being a tin miner, it was not unusual that the whole family clan was working under one roof. Normally, the grandfather would have influenced his children so that when they came of age, they too would be involved in the business. This was how tin mining became a family tradition.

Now that tin mining has ceased, my dad still keeps in touch with people whom he used to work with and value the kindness he experienced. Little by little, he too is passing the family tradition to me, reminding me that one day if he were gone, I need to show the same kindness to his friends’ families. In a fast moving society, where attaining goals after goals are our main objective, my dad’s reminder comes like morning dew, refreshing the soul.

More importantly, I am reminded that there is One whose mercy extends from generation to generation as stated in the scriptures:-

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation”

I will do well to seek His favour for the sake of my children so that for generations to come, they too will experience His goodness. Now that I have “future” in mind, I would need to be more careful as to how I live my life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Slouching Old Lady

Envision a slouching old lady examining her wrinkled hand in a corner, hoping that no one would notice her. That was how I felt when I attended the ladies fellowship last Saturday, except that I wasn’t looking at my hand; I was tending to my stuffy nose. As my mind was preoccupied with analyzing my cold (whether its an allergy or cold or sinus!), someone I knew walked past and asked “Having a cold?” “No, its sinus!” I regretted as soon as the word was mentioned. Almost wanting to whisper in Cantonese “choy ! choy!” to myself, I realized how silly I must have behaved before God.

Prior to my sinus being healed, I used to have a dilemma every time I suffer a stuffy nose ie. “Am I having a cold or a sinus?” as this would determine the type of medication I take. Quite often I would end up taking both types! Now that God has healed me from my sinus, I am left with only the cold option right?

When the video session by Beth Moore started, I was completely taken away by what God did for the people of Israelites in the book of Joshua. It was as though God had anticipated that His people would doubt Him and fear for their enemies (like they always would), and therefore, He kept reassuring them and promised to go before them, to deliver their enemies into their hands. He began by speaking to their leader, Joshua:

“No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. Be strong and be brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I the Lord your God, am with you in all you do”

These are such wonderful promises indeed! It’s almost like God is telling me that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t figure out about my stuffy nose, He is with me. As the session proceeded, I found that His Words and Promises were bigger than my problem and it came to a point that I had forgotten about my stuffy nose and at the end of the session, my cold was gone! That day was an important lesson for me as prior to that day, I would stay at home to nurse my cold (which under normal circumstances, would develop into migraine that would take 2 days to go away); but if I were to choose to seek God despite my infirmities, He will bless me in return.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Can’t Stop Crying

Unlike Clarissa who is demure and obedient, Joseph is rough, stubborn and in short LOUD. If his toys were not arranged in the same way that he had left it before he went to school, he would scream; If his transformers were 1mm out of position, he would cry; If his pasar malam stickers were a little crinkled, he would whine. I am really struggling with his demand for perfection behaviour. Almost every night, we would pray, together with him, about his anger management.

This night is no exception. He woke up from his afternoon nap and was upset that I had been to the park with Clarissa without him. He demanded my attention by crying non-stop. Based on experience, I know he will take about 1 hour to calm down; But tonight, I am not willing to give in as its puasa month, the maid hasn’t had her dinner yet and Joseph wanted her to stay with him until he had finished his dinner. Therefore, despite knowing that I would fail, I tried to reason with him; unknowingly, my tone of voice grew louder while his cries magnified manifold! Finally, I gave up and told him that as soon as he had finished his dinner, he must let kakak leave the room so that she could break her fast. He responded by crying even louder and that was the time I made my exit.

Ray and I went out for a quick bite, as I was worried that Joseph would still be clinging onto kakak. By the time when we got back, I was pleasantly surprised to find that kakak was “freed”. I brought some cut-up mangoes to Joseph and he smiled. “Mummy, I wanted to stop crying just now…but I can’t!” I could feel my tears gathering in my eyes. Before I could respond, he repeated himself again “I can’t stop crying! I wanted to, but can’t” " I sure know how that feels but its ok. Next time, you ask Jesus to help you ok?" I managed to reply. I realized that despite what I had thought, Joseph is actually fighting within himself! He knows what is right and he is struggling to do it!

“ For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”

As much as Joseph is struggling, I am also struggling daily with the same, knowing what is right and not doing it. God has started work in Joseph, helping him to manage his anger and disappointment; what a sweet reminder that both of us are still being molded by God.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How is your view looking like?

Years ago, my brother commented to me that swimmers who could do 100 laps would pant after just 2 rounds of jogging; the same theory applies vice versa. Being a medical doctor, he explained that the muscles of a swimmer is built differently from that of a runner. I love the water and have been swimming since young. However, now that we are in Kampar, the great outdoor offers much more than just doing lengths in a swimming pool: the scenic hills, the beautiful flowers, and most importantly, Clarissa enjoys cycling and going on rolling blades!

When I first started jogging, I was breathless after just finishing the first round. Well, my eyes were busy looking out for uneven ground and basically focusing on the pavers, ensuring that I wouldn’t trip and make a fool of myself. After 2 rounds in the park, my lungs would be heavy, dying for oxygen and my legs would feel like lead; while there are others who would speed past me and continue on with their nth rounds.

Once, both Clarissa and Joseph were jogging with me. They were running like wild leopards in all directions and me, the mummy, was chasing from behind, struggling to catch up. After 2 rounds, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t as breathless as before. The next day, I decided to try something different, instead of focusing on the ground and my next step, I focus on the hill in front of me. Suddenly, I realized that the park looked really beautiful; There were shrubs of colourful hibiscus lining up on my left. At the next turn, I saw a plot of welcoming sunflowers with students snapping pictures next to it. The playground was full of activities; the children were having a smashing time under the watchful eyes of their parents. As my eyes were eagerly taking in the view, I saw rows after rows of cherry blossoms look alike shrubs greeting me as I “zoomed” passed them. There were some grandparents too, feeding the fishes at the nearby pond with their little grandgems! Before I knew it, I had completed my 2 rounds quite effortlessly! In fact, I could feel a certain lightness in my feet, as though I could go on and on and on.

I have cracked it! The key to jogging (longer than you think you can) is to focus on the prize in front of you! For me, I was chasing the sunflowers at one point and cherry blossoms the next! I could almost feel their applause as I sped past them.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

All of us have a race to run; and to run this race well, we need to focus on Jesus in order not to be entangled by daily worries and mundane work. Oh and don’t forget to enjoy the spectacular view that God our Father has orchestrated specially for us, to spur us on our journey!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Hair Raising Incident

While we were on our way out for dinner one evening with Ray’s family, I made a quick escape to the ladies. Ray came looking for me as I was holding up the entire entourage, as usual.

While the search and wait were taking place in the house, an unexpected incident was brewing outside. Both Clarissa and Joseph were overjoyed to see their cousins who returned from Singapore; and without looking out for one another, Clarissa had jumped into Ray’s brother car quickly while Joseph, looking lost was left standing behind the Honda vehicle.

Kevin was going to reverse the car but my sis-in law, instead of sending a usual sms to inform me that Clarissa had followed them, decided to hop out of the car to tell me directly. It was then that she noticed that Joseph was standing behind their vehicle, at a blind spot!

When Thant Lynn related the incident to me, my heart skipped many beats and my eyes were warm with tears! I knew that at that very moment, God had sent His angels to Joseph, protecting him and at the same time, prompting Thant Lynn to come out of the car.

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone”

God’s scriptures and promises to us are indeed alive and powerful. Thank you God for protecting Joseph even when we are not around to protect him.

A Child Disobedience

Lately, I have been struggling to get Clarissa to do her homework on time. She used to be self disciplined and would ensure that her heavy school work is done before dinner time. However, recently, I found that she is easily distracted by numerous stuff such as TV programme, magazines, our pet Curly and including my mum's cooking! Without realizing it, she had let the day slipped by and eventually, she had run out of time! As a result, her homework time started to encroach into her bed time.

I have limited patience and had tried to talk some sense into her, but to no avail. Finally today, I couldn't take it any longer and told her off in a loud voice. Then, I retrieved to a quiet place to "discharge" my anger and disappointment. Little did I know that I would be nudged by a still small voice "Why are you so hurt? She is just a child! You are my child but do you always obey me? You were disappointed because Clarissa did not do her homework on time, do you know how disappointed I am when you turn away from me?" I was dumbfounded as I didn't expect God to speak to me especially when I was angry. However, He is right. While picking on Clarissa's mistakes, I have missed out my own; while dwelling in my own disappointment, I fail to realize that I have also inflicted God with my disobedience

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Nagging Feeling

I haven’t had this feeling for a long time until I listened to the speaker talking about the way Paul greeted Timothy with “Grace and Peace to you”.

Memories of my childhood came flooding back to me. As a child, I was a rebellious girl and being the youngest, I tend to get away with a lot of stuff, such as disobedience and talking back to my parents. Outwardly I may seemed tough but in reality, each time I did something wrong, I felt guilty. I wanted to apologise to my parents but my mind would dictate me otherwise; while my heart would be weighed down with guilt.

Fast forward to my teenage years, I became aware of my guilt feeling even more; no matter how hard I tried to shake it off, the feeling just wouldn’t go away. It was as though a small voice was telling me “You need forgiveness”!?; If I had offended a school friend, whether intentionally or unintentionally, I could feel it; worst, if memories of my childhood came to visit, I would again be haunted by the same feeling. I could watch TV or read novels all day but ultimately, the guilt stayed.

For sometime I didn’t know what this meant until Vera, my housemate, shared with me about Jesus and the need for forgiveness. First time in my life I discovered the antidote to this nagging feeling. What I could not understand was: “Why did I need forgiveness from Jesus when I didn’t offend Him but the people around me?”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.”

Ultimately, only God has the power to forgive and remove such guilt in my life permanently; and to experience such deliverance, I need to come back to God and believe in Him. To my amazement, not only did I experience liberation from guilt but reconciliation with those whom I have offended, in particular my parents.

Experiencing grace (His forgiveness) and peace (being set free from guilt) for the first time was liberating! Thank you God for your sweet reminder that it was so wonderful to be free…from this nagging feeling!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wired Differently?

For the longest of time, I wanted to do a surgical dissection on my heart or brain. Well, I am trying to figure out why I am a pessimist. Since young, I have had loads of negative thoughts bombarding me and eventually, to my dismay, I am able to cook up most of such thoughts, quite effortlessly. Then, through my adulthood, my pessimism slowly, unconsciously, turned me into a skeptic!

In my previous employment as an auditor, when asked to list what were the disadvantages of one option over the other, I would have no problem coming up with countless no-goes. In fact, I quite enjoy “shooting things down”! But when the question was to list the positive aspects, I would have a problem! Its like my heart is fighting with my brain; my back leaning against a moving wall; and eventually my brain will be subjected to vigorous exercise and after much “thinking”, I might just end up with something vaguely positive!

For instance, if I were to come up with negative words beginning with the alphabet “s”, I would happily list: sad, sick, stagnant, skeptic, scheming, stern, serious …etc; but if I were to list something positive, erm, I need to think, sober?

I wonder if many people are like me. Although you may think otherwise, I don’t enjoy being a pessimist and skeptic. Its like a hurdle that I have to overcome every time I pray or hope for something better. God knows how to deal with my weakness. In fact the recent events in my life have shown me that it is always better to focus on something better. And the key to stay positive is to immerse myself in God’s words. This may sound too good to be true but it is actually God’s promise to us:-

“Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

The Israelites, after they were delivered out of their enslaved lives in Egypt, arrived at the gates of the Promised Land and conveniently forgot about God’s goodness and faithfulness. Instead, they chose to focus on themselves, on how ill equipped they were for invasion, how poorly trained they were and how small they felt. I could almost see myself standing in the midst of them, asking Moses “Are you sure that you heard God correctly? We are used to being slaves, not warriors!” They had lost their focus on God.

Forty years later when the Israelites (now replaced by the younger generation, more eager and willing) arrived at the gates of the Promised Land, Jericho:-

Then the Lord said to Joshua “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its kings and fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, everyone straight in”

When I read this, my first thought was "Gosh, if I had known this 40 years ago, I wouldn't have thought what I did. Now, I feel like an idiot!" God will never give us a test to fail us; in fact, He will do all He can to make sure we pass with flying colours. The problems lie with us, our reluctance to believe, our unwillingness to remove our stare at ourselves and choose to focus on Him, who is greater. In this case, the Israelites had lost 40 years of good life by wandering in the desert. I wouldn't want to lose out on any time or blessing by being a pessimist or skeptic. Instead, I will choose to focus on Him and His word.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Clarissa's Little Miracle

One of the greatest gifts that God has given me is to watch Clarissa growing in faith. Being in Chinese school has its challenges, the tops being the heavy workload and the strict discipline, sometimes might I say, unreasonable punishment. For example, when Clarissa first started school, she told me that on average she would get disciplined twice weekly. She has hardly complained about such discipline, in fact, she seldom brought it up unless I probe. More usually than not, such discipline was given to the whole class for disobedience. Therefore, Clarissa (she is actually quite demure and obedient) gets punished as she is part of the class, so to speak.

Today is her first day back at school after one week’s break. She packed her school bag yesterday; I dread helping her to pack her bag as almost every time, I would miss out some books, resulting in her getting disciplined. Therefore, I have decided not to get involved in this “packing business”, except to help her “load” her pile inside the school bag.

When I picked her up from school, my habitual question would be “How was your day?” Today, her reply was far from the usual “Ok lah”; rather, “Guess what mum, I packed my bag wrongly! Today is Tuesday but I had packed Monday books!” she said. My immediate response was “O dear, how many times were you punished today?” my heart was swelling with sad thoughts. “You know ah, I prayed to God very hard today, that the teacher would not notice that I have forgotten my books. First, it was the PE teacher but thankfully, she didn’t use the text book. Then I continue praying for my English class. Guess what, my English teacher didn't notice that I didn't have my books! Praise God yah!?" she related her day happily.

I could feel tears welling in my eyes as I learn that my little girl is growing in faith! She knows that the best person to turn to in crisis is not mummy or daddy but her Heavenly Father! I can't be there for her all the time but God can; I can't perform miracles but God can. Thank you Heavenly Father for reaching out to Clarissa, meeting her where she needs most and where I can't be.

Joseph restoring joy to a friend

We were at a family retreat at Cameron Highlands. Children were having a fun time playing frisbees when one child, Ashton, threw the frisbee...