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Showing posts from 2014

Paris of Indonesia: a travelogue

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At the baggage collection area smaller than the size of a classroom, we waited almost anxiously for the first baggage to appear. We had just walked across the aeroplane runway, somewhat amazed at how small the airport was. As the baggage started coming in, a biggish tired-looking chap started helping the service officer to unload them. My heart warmed at the sight of other travelers giving a hand to move the luggage along the conveyer belt.


This would begin my 4-day stay in Bandung, where smiles are common and the locals ever so polite. There are hardly any traffic lights in the third largest city of Indonesia but there is order amidst the seeming chaos. Drivers honk to give way and signal to other drivers, not in anger. As our driver Saifu weaved in and out of the maze of streets, we looked in awe as horses bearing people in carriages clopped alongside motorbikes and cars. An alternative mode of getting around, traveling by horse carriages cost around $10 000-$15 000 RP according to…

Cats

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This blog post is prompted by a conversation I had last Friday with my dear friends. I guess I've kinda known this for some time now, but hearing it articulated and seeing it felt troubled me. 
In worldly terms, I have excelled in university. Not only grades, but God has blessed me with various ministries which I find meaning and satisfaction in. I have never felt as congruent as I have my whole life to be studying social work and applying what I have learnt to meet the seen needs around me. 
I don't know if this makes my friends feel lesser, but that they think highly of me I feel like there is a need to respond to that. And as I was reflecting I thought of an analogy so here goes:

 I am like this cat. You won't think of cats as cuddly creatures. In fact they give a whiff of wanting their own personal space and wanting to be left alone.                                                                                                                                  In short,…

Written in the Stars

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Another semester of school is ending soon, and as I reflect on this semester, the chorus of Written in the Stars (Westlife, not Tenie Tempah) rang so true:

When I look at my life, how the pieces fall into place, it just wouldn't rhyme, without You

At my very core, You satisfy me Lord. And You have taught me to truly delight in You and You only this semester.

When I so desperately wanted friends, not to bless them but rather to have people to eat lunch with so I won't worry about eating lunch alone in school, to cafe hop with, to take nice pictures with, You did not give it to me. Instead, You showed me how self-centred I am.
Then, when I told You, I must centre myself on You so please help me to- You gave me company when I needed it. I found that I was a better friend, and much more assured in the friendships I have.

When I see how my path, seem to end up before Your face

When I asked to be rooted deeper in church, You showed me that again, fellowship is God-centred: a fellowshi…

Sunday soul food

It went from- okay I will sit through this one hour- to this stirring of affections as I am called back to live by the Spirit, reminded that my groaning is a witness of my salvation. It ends off with the awesome promise to us as children of God- being heirs to all creation, the redeemed creation.

Claiming God's promises is a struggle because I often doubt the very existence of God. 'How can you be sure, really sure, that you are not deluding yourself?' As Paul states: "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Corinthians 15:19, NIV)

I cannot see, yet I hope. Perhaps the being sure of this hope is a lifelong process. #soulfood


A psalm

My whole being cries out: Pain, Lord! Pain, stop! And  I weep afresh, uncontrollably, engulfed by a larger pain. I feel the pain in my brother's rage I am the persecuted in Iraq A mother who has lost her child
And so I sob Welcoming the tears of release Yet feeling utterly desolate: There is no one to hear But God. And He is not enough right now. And what of those that know Him not? I cry again at this thought. O God, O Lord!
Still, hope flickers. His voice whispers: One lone sheep to save The endless joyous story
Amen


Blue. And existentially unimportant

But I know I (am supposed to) have the joy and that I can shoot down the second point with a dozen declarations from God in the Bible. 
Still... there always comes this time, when I start to doubt. Like now.
Long-held fears and anxieties. 
I'm boring, uncool, too serious to have fun with... No friends to really be with which makes me feel empty-sad.
And always this sense of futility- what am I doing with my life? 
To make things worse, my friends do not seem similarly afflicted. Okay, the chances are that people do feel the same way but we aren't connected so I still feel alone.
How I have prayed for a confidant to know me, apart from God Himself! Yet perhaps for this very reason the answer is no/wait.

Guarding my heart

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4:23, NLT
God tells us that how we allow people to move our hearts will influence our entire life. Discern well for it is no small matter, He says.
Found my heart stirred towards a really sweet-looking guy in camp. I don't know much about him but hearts don't really care about these things as we all know. 
"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm." Song of Songs 8:6, NLT
A relationship grounded in biblical principles speaks of permanence. Do I seek this permanence or is it a self-aggrandizing desire? 
"His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband." 1 Corinthians 7:34, NLT
The simple fact that is a constant struggle for me is that God…

blessings

Adapted from the diary entry I made just now:

Only this week did I truly (or perhaps not really) see how attractive I am. When I wore contacts, everyone was commenting how pretty I looked it made me feel kinda uncomfortable. I don't really like it when guys look at girls differently because they have a pretty face. Well I admit I'm guilty of that too. 
God gave me those pretty eyes and that winning look for a reason. So I think it's also sin to hate what He has sovereignly blessed me with.Well she does make people (especially guys) open up to me faster in social work. But I'm still scared by how she can cause me or others to fall into sin. Guys taking too long a look, me looking too long at pictures of this earthly self, or feeling proud.
Always before I pray earnestly (as earnest as my heart distracted by evil desires can) that I will glorify God and not sin against Him. Or cause others to sin against Him. It's a struggle to set my mind on things above and not on…

10 000 reasons

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"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4, RSV




Satisfying internship at Lakeside Family Services


















 Living out my childhood social enterprise dream in ways more awesome than I imagined

















"Bless the Lord O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!" Psalm 103:1, RSV

Why I don't watch Korean dramas

I'm writing this more for myself (since I realised I periodically re-read my posts and am encouraged by some of them, especially this one.).
I remember I made this promise to God not to watch Korean dramas again after I threw a hissy temper when my parents refused to let me watch the last episode in the midst of my exams. That was when it hit me that I was so deeply engrossed.

I might be more socially conscious than others. But perhaps this has also caused me to lapse easily into a world where I can mindlessly lap up the pretty faces, the predictable plot and of course, more often than not, a good ending at the 16th episode.

I am writing this because I have been breaking this promise. Until 1030, I tell God. Then it was, just this one episode to spend time with my parents. Yesterday too, though I knew I would have trouble focusing on God's message in church today if I didn't sleep earlier. Lack of sleep isn't all though.

One big reason I decided by God's grace to f…

Perseverance

/pəːsɪˈvɪər(ə)ns/

"Continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation." 

Oh for grace to trust Him more! And I know that He is with me, will be with me to the end.

Tomorrow I start my field placement in a family service centre proper. I really really thank God that He has mercifully provided a strong Christian that loves and seeks Him as my partner, and that this centre meets at 8.30am everyday for prayers. 

Bleary eyes, slow mind- can't get some eloquence out now so I'll keep it short. I'm reminded of this victorious life to which I entered when Christ took hold of me. 


And though this world, with devils filled,  Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him- His rage we can endure, For lo! His doom is sure; One little word shall fell him (And that word is the Word of God)
Martin Luther King
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have alrea…

in the silence of nearing-dawn

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explanation:

inspiration: conclusion:

"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."  1 Timothy 1:16

/rɪˈflɛkʃ(ə)n/

ruminate/ˈruːmɪneɪt/ In my usual ruminating way, I was thinking about my social media accounts after I posted a few days ago:

CoY: This blog holds a special place in my life because it is where the least filtered part of me lies in open to all. In an often vain, self-exalting way though... but it is where I say things which I sometimes desperately wish people who know me will read, while at the same time wishing they won't. In short, a truer but more vulnerable me.

Instagram: I am kinda ashamed by how much I love it. My account that is, tracking the hearts given to my posts. I think there's nothing wrong with the pleasure of taking photos but this is a totally worldly obsession with self.

FB: Sometimes a source of grief. Quite a few (sometimes unpleasant) exchanges about theological issues with my dear old friend. But quite thankful for this place where I am jolted out of my complacency by my unbelieving friends. It shows the work yet to be done, a (very close) world yet to k…

A dream

I have to write this down because God speaks so softly I often forget He does at all. This morning I had a dream where God seemed to be speaking to me.

It wasn't in visions or anything, but I had these old feelings of despair again in my dream. And then I was reminded that I had Christian friends and also of the cherubim. "In addition to singing God's praises, they also serve as a visible reminder of the majesty and glory of God and His abiding presence with His people."(Got Questions) And lastly, I was reminded that nothing occurs apart from the will of God.

Was this to encourage me? I believe so. I think it was also to remind me that it is this great God whom I have a personal relationship with. And it is of this glorious relationship that I must speak.

Hallelujah, Amen.

Mayday

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Exactly 4 months since my last post...

I remembered on the first day of 2014 I wrote to 2 prisoners in US prisons. One replied but I haven't heard from him since. I hope he's fine. I haven't gotten a reply to my letters, which meant they either were censored or got lost.

This got me thinking again about how different people's lives in the world can be.

It is a source of inspiration, looking at the cheerful way that tan youngish man at the busy coffeeshop made the teh and kopi, and the cheerful banter between the 2 Chinese ladies at the counter. Their work is obviously tiring and doesn't pay well, but they were in the moment. And in the moment was this simplicity that had strange echos of hope and joy.

I learn about the Christians in Japan, wondering what it must be like to be the 1%. They encourage me when I think of them, holding faith in that land. "Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world a…

The world is not right but God is sovereign

The world is not right at all. This is something I have been reminded of again and again. The first thing that came into view when I logged on was this article from New Internationalist magazine.

These kind of things make me question God again. And myself too. What am I doing here, am I not doing something I should, what can I do? As I contemplate this afresh, I arrive at the same conclusion again.

God who is love is sovereign, and He can be trusted. And this wretched world is but a blip in eternity.
And I do not need to, and cannot, save the world. Unless God is behind me.

This thought kept occurring to me these days: That everything is illogical apart from God.

I don't think I should make any resolutions. Is life comprised of hurtling toward goals?
Though if anything I pray very hard that I will walk with God, leaning on His providence to carry my cross daily.