Monthly Archives: December 2009
This picture which I took in Jeju, after a day’s adventure and a hearty dinner, reminded me of Tyler Burkum’s debut album, so I aptly titled the picture after it. I remember swatting sandflies, sheltering HY from the rain and chasing for the bus after capturing this moment. I can’t wait to travel the world with HY. (:
I just ended a Skype interview with DL and it brings me to the mid-point of 15 one-hour interviews with the potential REAL candidates. One question asked during the session was, “Are you currently struggling with any addictions or sins?”
Through the interview sessions, everyone shared about different sins and struggles and it got me thinking about why we actually choose to sin. (Being caught in a bondage is different in that you actually do not realise that you’re in sin.) More often than not, sin is a choice. It was a choice for Eve, Adam, Cain, David, everyone else in between, and us, of course.
I’ve sinned plenty in my life, some with more dire consequences than others. Some sin hurt me, some hurt others but all sin hurts God. I believe that we sin because we seek its apparent fleshly pleasures which brings apparent (and short-lived) gratification to our carnal self.
Hence, I conclude that we choose to sin because we do not believe that the pleasures of God are better than the pleasures of our flesh. Our innate hedonistic nature prevents us from being contented and our ‘human’ nature drives us to seek satisfaction in physical/worldly pleasures.
That epiphany isn’t the scary bit. What frightens me more is that by choosing to derive pleasure from sin, we are indirectly mocking God – that He’s not good and/or able enough to satisfy our hearts’ desire. The next scary bit is – what then does our heart desire? More often than not, if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll actually realise that we prefer the pleasures of sin to the pleasures of God.
Oh God, how we need Your holiness to sanctify us!
How we need Your grace and mercy to overcome sin!
How we need Your love and forgiveness to cleanse us of all unrighteousness!
I’ve had a long day and I’m exhausted but I write because I want to give God glory.
Today, on my way to work, in my morning chat with God, I told Him that it’d be really helpful if I had a vehicle as there is a lot to be done, a lot of people to meet and a lot of traveling to do during the December peak period.
After staff devotion, I returned CC’s missed call. He asked if I could do him a favour by picking up his Kangoo from the workshop tomorrow. He is my best friend and it wasn’t a tough request anyway so I gladly agreed to help.
“Eh actually why don’t you hold on to the car? I’m heading to Europe for two weeks. I leave tomorrow.”
I shared this with CC when he came over to my place tonight to borrow some winter wear. Even he, ever the agnostic, thought this random answered prayer was cool. I feel really blessed to have a friend that is CC.
HY always knew that I have considered buying a Kangoo in future (but probably won’t because she holds an auto license). So when I told her about CC’s offer, she shared my joy and she also reminded me of God’s sense of humour.
“And you’ve always wanted to own a Kangoo.”
How can I keep from singing Your praise? I could never do enough and I marvel at Your amazing love. When You choose to bless, You delights in doing so and exceed all expectations when I least expect it. You have met my needs. All glory to Your name.
I am sorry. December looks insane and so if it’d be a remarkable achievement if I could update regularly.
In the meantime, I’d covet your prayers in the following 7 items:
1. Wisdom – you can never ask for enough of it.
2. Strength – for the impending lack of rest.
3. Time-management – prioritising is doing first things first.
4. Efficiency – especially in areas which I am weak at.
5. Help – you can answer this prayer by approaching me.
6. Health – a) seeing a specialist in Jan for my lipoma/neurofibroma; b) no ulcers; c) no pimples – haha.
7. Sensitivity – to God’s voice, prompting and direction.
A number of misunderstandings have taken place during the planning process for this trip, but I guess, at the end of the day, I’m still really looking forward to Langkawi. I’m heading there for the weekend together with HY, the recently engaged LK and JQ, CN and JW. I’m sure it’s gonna be a great trip.
I hope the weather holds and I am looking forward to quality conversations with everyone. It’s great to have my girlfriend, best friend and super friend on the same trip. I’m blessed. That combination itself is worth it. Let’s see if I’ll have time to post a short entry while I’m there.
On another note, besides being excited about this short weekend getaway, I’m even more excited about the REAL applications that will be confirmed this weekend. I can’t wait to put faces and names to the 10 slots. It’s gonna be a great camp from 28-31 Dec and it’s gonna be a great journey with the 10 of them until 28 Feb. You can either leave it on my table or better still, pass it to either RY or CX.
After I waved goodbye to my new-found friend, I knew something was definitely amiss when I found myself still at the baggage collection belt – 10 minutes after he left. Yes, the inevitable happened; the 27kg box arrived but the 13kg box did not. I was tired, frustrated and worried (that the fish meat might spoil) but I was also amused at the ironic unfolding of events.
The driver came to receive me and sent me back to my uncle’s house after we dropped off the fish meat at the factory. It was good to see my relatives again, in Shanghai, where I spent nearly two years. I was kept abreast of the company’s situation and I was really glad that I pulled out early. I called up SQ, finally got through after being put on hold for 15 minutes, and tracked down that missing box, which was on its way to Shanghai onboard the 10am flight. I didn’t push for it but I was a little disappointed that SQ offered neither apology nor compensation – after all, I did have to pay excess baggage for it. Poor public relations, I think.
On the way back from the airport, I got a little nervous about going to WK’s place to surprise KP because I didn’t know what my opening line would be. WK told me that KP enjoyed Mee Jiang Kueh so I brought some over for her. So when I walked over to WK’s apartment, I really felt like I was in a cinematic moment, pulling off a surprise that you’d only see on TV screens. My favourite couple in Shanghai were having breakfast when I sprang the surprise.
JA: *knock, knock, knock* [heard muttering of “So early, who’s that?” in the background]
WK: [opened the door] Oh, Kay, it’s the postman, your package. [closed the door]
KP: For me? Really? *flip flop, flip flop* [opened the door]
JA: Hello, mee jiang kueh for you?
KP: [stared] [registered face] [screamed] [opened the door wider] [covered mouth] [screamed again]
JA: [walked in, saw WK laughing in the background]
(This is the really funny part…)
KP: [still responding] [composed herself] [RETURNED TO SEAT] [RESUMED BREAKFAST]
JA: [still standing at the door] Erm, welcome to Shanghai?
KP & WK: [broke into laughter] [rose from their seats] [realised they haven’t welcomed me] [exchanged hugs]
It was an amazing feeling to see my buddy and neighbour back in Shanghai again. It truly was. I was delighted to embrace them and to just be in their presence. We had a good breakfast together and I regaled to them my divine appointment. Then I knocked out on WK’s sofa for a good 45 minutes before I woke up to join my uncle and aunty for lunch. So far, so good.
During my devotion a few days ago, I thought about the impending December and how crazy it was going to get – and how tired I was going to be. I applaud and take my hat off CX and RY who have been doing it for a decade.
On this note, I reckon that disillusionment sets in when people are exhausted. I’ve said this before and I believe that fatigue causes us to get emotional and irrational, and this results in us losing interest in people, events and pursuits. Whenever we feel moody we don’t want to talk to people. Whenever we feel down, we feel like we have nothing left to offer so we stop giving. When we are feel tired, all we want to do is to avoid everything and everyone and just recluse into our own space. Can you identify with that?
If you have ever felt that way, which I’m sure you have, that’s completely human and understandable. We have physical capacities and limitations and there’s only so much we can give or do, I guess.
And that is why I was so encouraged when the Holy Spirit directed me to Psalm 121:1-8. This is the absolute faithfulness of God:
1 I look up to the mountains — does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth!
3 He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps.
5 The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night.
7 The LORD keeps you from all evil and preserves your life.
8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
We should give Him praise for being someone who neither sleeps, tires or slumbers! What a great assurance! We can put so much confidence and trust in God to deliver us! This portion of scripture reminds me that God is like a 24-hour call centre that never stops operating, never takes a break and is available whenever, wherever.
When I get tired of seeking You, You never get tired of seeking me. Oh God I praise You for Your lovingkindness and steadfastness in my life. Thank You for never giving up on me and for always persisting to pursue me. I love You, Lord.