Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fee is Free indeed!

Due to the nature of my name, Fee, friends smiled when I told them that my blog is called Fee is Free. Literally, coming from an accountant, fee is Free is contradictory but yet, its good news. For a long time, I have wanted to write about the origin of my blog name but felt ill equipped to do so. Finally, this morning, my devotion had adequately spelt out the essence of how I felt about myself and couldn't resist to post it here. Thank you John Piper, you are truly God Sent!

The Only True Freedom (by John Piper)
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
There are at least four kinds of freedom. And each one adds a crucial dimension of freedom to the last until we get to the full freedom—"free indeed." Let me try to sum up these four kinds of freedom in one definition of full and complete freedom: You are fully free—completely free, free indeed—when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make you happy in a thousand years. Or we could say, You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you no regrets forever.
  • If you don't have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don't want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It's not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don't want.
  • And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free—not free indeed.
To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed. To be happy forever, our sins must be forgiven and God's wrath removed and Christ must become our supreme Treasure. Only Jesus can do that. In fact, he has already done it. He died for our sins. He absorbed God's wrath. And he rose from the dead and is today therefore supremely precious. And he offers us that now as a free gift.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Beautiful Tapestry

A few years ago when I watched the movie, The Blind Side, God gave me the conviction to start a school that could impact lives. I have always wondered since the school started, did we really impact lives? Today, I have my answers.

Gabriel had stopped attending his local secondary school for close to 2 months as not only was he ostracized by his teachers, he was written off as “useless” by his family. Out of desperation, his mother signed up his son with us. During our term two report card day, both his parents turned up to speak to our teachers. His mother was especially overjoyed “All his life, Gabriel has been scoring Ds or Es but now for the 1st time, I see him achieving Cs!” she shared. Although I was not there to speak to the mother, I felt a tear at the corner of my eyes. Indeed, if it were not for the committed teachers and God working in his life, I think Gabriel would not be far from being a school drop out altogether.

Another boy, Isaac, has been school hopping before he joined us – he has gone to 4 different private schools in the last 3 years. His grades were dropping and his attitude follows alongside. No sooner did he enrol, he made a name for himself. Later, we found out that he was famous in his previous schools too, but for the wrong reason. Today, I had the privilege to meet up with one of his teachers, Mr T. Although Mr T is still very new to our school, he immediately recognized that Isaac stands out from his class. “If there is any glitches with my lesson, for even 5 mins, I could see Isaac getting out of his chair and starting to do his own stuff.” He shared. “Today, when I start my lesson, I told Isaac that from now onwards, I would prepare my lesson with him on my mind!” I was so impressed by Mr T’s attitude, who despite having a troublemaker in his class, is unfazed but is all the more determined to help Isaac. The commitment of teachers like him has not only impacted the lives of the students in the school, but also on me: God’s Promises are all True and Life Transforming.

This morning, one of the girls told my niece that she is leaving our school for good. Rumours had it that Naomi was bullied by her peers here and although I don’t know the girl well, I felt sadden by the news. However, further enquiry into the matter had proved otherwise. At the beginning of the year, Naomi had trouble getting along with the girls at the boarding house. One of the girls, Madeline, had been teasing her and that had really affected her. Towards the end of last term, she cried and broke down. It was also at that time, that our Character Education teacher, Mr AV spoke about bullying and made them think hard by writing about it. Madeline confessed in her essay that she didn’t realize that she had hurt her friend and made the 1st step of reconciliation by apologizing to Naomi; Naomi in turned wrote about not harbouring a vengeful heart towards those who had hurt her. The real evidence of transformation came when during a basketball practice last week, a stray ball hit Naomi on her face. Almost immediately, Madeline went over to ask if she were alright. By prying into this suspected withdrawal case, I found treasure hidden instead. In actual fact, Naomi’s parents were very happy to see the change in their girl. Naomi was only joking with her friends that she will be absent from school for a day as she has a dental appointment the next day. 

At the end of this day, I felt immensely moved that God has brought so many wonderful teachers, helpers, boarding parents, support staff, parents and students to enrich each others' lives: He has woven us together like a intricate tapestry that by being one, we are beautiful and impactful.

(Note: names of individuals had been changed to protect their identities)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom8:28)

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...