Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Secret Place

I'm amazed at what is happening to people I know. This time it is all about the good things. Well, it is better to talk about things that glorifies God and edifies one. Really amazed but not in shock at the rate of spiritual growth of someone I chatted with. I will not reveal the name because I want to focus my thoughts on one issue: The Secrect Place.

She is someone I know through someone close, very close to me. She related to me how hell could be like on earth and how heaven can be so real even on earth. The experiences that she had to go through and the mockery she had to endure were great trials that I think many wouldn't have survived. Although most of the conversation was done by her, I was satisfied and grateful that she shared. I've never had an urge to talk to her but I guess it was divine placement last night that we met and talked. Through the conversation and sharing I could see how ones past can turn into a prosperous future. I could sense the joy that shines from her. Why shines? This is because she will continue to shine the light of God no matter where she is. I'm putting my confidence in God for this. I really also do hope her entire family sees this light and catch the joy that radiate from her.

Seeing what God does in His own special way is very fulfilling. Certainly she didn't find refuge where she was. But she finally found the ever faithful, merciful and loving God in a secrect place. I'm not revealing the secrect place where she found Abba because everyone finds the Father in a very different way. The very different way where we find God would be a defining moment in our lives. A time of a new discovery and beginning. Who says God is cruel? He is not! He is just and fair which doesn't equates to being cruel. If He can give her a new beginning in a place she found refuge so can you. She shared so much more. Things that really show her escalating deepening of her faith in our God.

Faithfully seek God and He will find you first. Afterall He has found us. He loved us first. There is no other faith and a god that wants to have an intimate father-child relationship than the God of Abraham, Moses and Jacob; and also yours. This God works on a formula derived from LOVE. I believe is the very essence of creation and of any relationship. If you are searching for love in the wilderness, call out and He will answer. Love is knocking on your heart.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Memories of a wet Christmas

Years after years of celebrating Christmas in almost a uniform patern did not even bore me a little bit. This year however has been a very different ball game all together. Previously, Christmas was celebrated with peers of my age and older. A twist in the event, as I would call it. Christmas all along was always accompanied by the monsoon season but it is exceptionally wet this year. Rather different was how I was interacting with more younger brothers and sisters in Christ from church and those from a far. Suddenly, people younger look up to me. Not that this has never happened but I guess when one gets older the younger ones pay respect and at the same time tease you and "bully" you more. For example, "Tell me story" & "You owe me 2 stories". This is a post dedicated to those who want to hear a story or two and also dedicated to the youths of Wesley in general. The story of A Wet Christmas....

In a blink of an eye I was brought back to my child hood days remembering caroling in knee-high waters until dawn breaks. I should be in my pre-school years. My dad was the chairman of the church then. Following him as if I was his shadow was a rather common thing to do when I was younger, much younger. Caroling has been fun, church was absolutely fun and the people, though rough and crude at times were nice. I mix more with older youths of the church, people a decade older. There have been so much changes to the way we live today that the fun of the past generation is no longer experienced. Caroling used to an event, a highlighted event, that last a whole night through until dawn breaks. Hence, the eyes bags. It was and would still be very tiring but nontheless it is filled with lots of fun. I still remember I could not stay awake for the final few houses. Very vividly I recall the time was then 5 o'clock in the morning and the waters were rising in some areas. I have to give credit and applause to these die hard, rugged and "all out" youths of their days for enduring the flood waters to bring the Good News to the people. Maybe it is only something the chinese church youth possess. True passion or is it just sheer fun they are after? Every other year from then on was not that wet. No floods. Occasionally it rained. Until this year where it is exceptionally wet! I hate it when it rain at odd hours of the day like say when I am still awake.

God has been very faithful. Very is still an understatement but nevertheless a strong enough word in my vocabulary of 10 words. I remember the transition from primary to secondary school was a total culture shock. From a good, mummy's boy to a rascal in school. Swearing replaced 'Hi' and 'bye' in my everyday conversation with friends. As foul as the backside of a chicken can be so was my mouth. I still remember the time when I challenged a group of more than 20 youths who also happen to be gangsters. What a silly thing to do. Of course I got into trouble. They demanded me to appear to them and you know what they would do. Thankfully I have friends who are so very helpful to negotiate with them to lesson the 'punishment'. In the end all I have to say is a simple "sorry". This reminds me about the compasionate Father. Many a times we challenge God with our rebellion, disbelief, disrespect and many other uninviting & unrully behaviours. As powerful as He is, He is also very loving, caring, concern and forgiving. The punishment I should have gotten for all my wrong doings should have been death but He sent His one and only Son, Jesus to die a cruel death on the cross to redeem us. Redemption did not come free but it was given free. Salvation was not created freely but it is given away freely. A sorry says it all...humility, respect, honour and submission.

Then again, life has never been a bed of roses or a box of chocolate. Maybe it is. Not all roses bloom to see the rising sun everyday. Not all chocolates are pleasing to the taste buds. The sight of them blooming even for a day can satisfy the naked eye. The sweetness of the chocolate soothes the bitterness of the soul. An overstatement. It came a time when all seems down hill. Problems of self-esteem was too great to deal with. Church was a place where it manifested the greatest. I understand how some are encountering it now and some never even got over it. It is a pity to see one perpetually depressed and intimidated by low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I thank God today for the few who showed their concern. They saw beyond what was on the outside. They saw my need, my potential and my passion. I love them very much although they are not very close friends and relatives. Maureen, Xin Yi and Vincent Hong, especially Maureen were all there to support me. Maureen even came to my house to personally ask to go to church and ask me how I was. It made a difference. The "Never say die" attitude she has impress me till today. I was back in church after a long vacation, too long. We discovered I could sing. It was history from then on.

Sweet 16 some may utter boastfully. Sweet? It was a bitter pill to me. Having to endure the worst of relationships is tormenting. As if hell is where I stay. Tears accompany me too often. If only they can wash away the bitterness off my cheek. The saltiness of tears remind me of Matthew 5 where Jesus gave us the directive to become salt and light. I certainly did not heed that calling back then. I was not even aware of the significance of it. I did the very opposite. Out of desperation I joined and became a gangster. The purpose and how I become one is not that important now and it was very silly. People say with knowledge comes power. Definately! but it also comes with responsibility. I can still testify to that right now. The second time I fear being beaten was when the gang I joined was in the process of being taken over by another more superior one. We, the few remaining ones held a meeting in a secluded place to decide. The leaders then had fallen. We switch and paid our fees. The leader of the new gang summoned us to a meeting. I declined him once. Thank God he did not send anyone to beat me. The second time he called, my friend said I had to go to avoid him from being angry and so I went. As we arrive at the coffee shop everyone evacuated. Soon I realised there were about 20 high ranking gangsters seated in a row in front of me. I was trembling. The leader ask if I wanted a drink and also ask for my name and a little bit about who I was.

Soon after they left for a gang fight. I did not join. I was a diplomatic one. I did not join any gang fights during my time with them. But I found favour in the leader's eyes. He appointed me as the person in charged of my ex-school, then ACS. I was given the authority to collect protection fees and to control all the members in the school. I declined citing the possible departure to KL to further my studies. He insisted that I succeed my predecessor. I kept quiet. Now I see that God is actually working to stop me from being further drawn into the mess. In a MYF Camp at the end of the year, I cried for help and Rev.Dr. Herbert helped me in prayer and urge me to continue praying. I did what he ask out of desperation, but a different type of desperation. A desperation to escape the mess I was in. News of gang members being slain by a rebellion within the gang was very frightening. Every nite at the stroke of midnght I would hear a loud sound from a motorbike as how gangsters and others would do with their bikes. Fear was certainly a factor. I prayed without fail for the next 7 months. Breakthrough!!! I got out without complication. Praise God!

God is the centre of our lives and should be. My pass, no matter how wrotten has a future. Today I stand to testify of His greatness. My life, the mere fact that I live to type this post speaks of the faithfullness of God. As children of God we are a member of the ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Membership is eternal. We speak with more authority than angels and demons. The war is already won. Vitory is ours without us fighting. Live a victorious life. Speak and it shall be done. God is great!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cuti-cuti Malaysia

Cuti sememangnya musim kesukaan saya. Saat yang dinanti -nati ini akhirnya tiba sebaik sahaja peperiksaan akhir semster tamat. Tanpa diduga sudah sebulan lebih berlalu. Tidak banyak yang telah dilakukan. Hanya MYF CAMP 2005 disertai, baju baru dibeli, kekecewaan dilalui, kemeriahan perkahwinan sabahat dirasai, kegembiraan pengembalian kakak angkat ditunaikan dan kaki yang hampir bangku menendang bola bersama rakan -rakan sekampung.

That's how much I'll write in malay this time around. The highlight of my holiday must be the camp. Probably my last camp as a camper. I would still and always will love to attend MYF Camps of the future. It may be a camp for youths but to me it is still the same God that is at work. In camp we learn lots of things concerning faith. I personally learned lots of deeper meaning of the Word of God. It is just stupendously awesome. Simply rejuvenated the drying up of my inwards. Truely the devotional articles speak directly to me. I believe God had Romans 8 as the focus to build my faith and many others. I really begin to see the Spirit moving in me again. He has always been there since He came in.

My ignorance of His presence has created some real struggles. Struggles to find myself, finding my personality, my ownership, purpose and direction. It was a case of self discovery. My life was deep and meaningless before. Deep in my problems, meaningless in my search for righteousness. Futile. But God was so gracious as He held me from falling and showed me His way, the only hope, to attain righteousness. Righteousness that fulfills the requirements of the law. I am righteousness! Thanx God!! Now He sees me as a righteousness man without any trace of sin. Hallelujah.

Hilmy Nor was truely a brilliant example to show that God can make way when it seemed impossible. For the sake of us who lack faith this will help. If a malay living in Malaysia who is bound and condemned by the unjust laws of man can proclaim his faith in Christ, why not you! Why not the rest of the malay race? Why not everyone? It is possible. Lets fulfill the great commission even in our beloved land. It was such a honour to sit and enjoy the best apple pie with vanilla ice cream and scones in Cameron with him, a living testimony of God's faithfulness and grace. I ought to do my part in reaching out to many others who are lost. May we not get lost in the midst of our journey. Keep it going...the fire continues to burn

Monday, December 12, 2005

Play +Play = Fatigue

Holiday to me is always about a time to rewind, rethink, enjoy and re-equiped. Maybe there are more things that I do during my holiday than those stated. Ofcourse I play alot. Non-stop to be exact. From badminton drills to enjoying the sea breeze. Swimming at this time of the year has become a ritual of some sort. Doing it only for a mont or two every year isn't pleasant to my developing muscles. It always hurt alot for the first few days. Playing badminton isn't that bad but enough to cause exhaustion. Futsal has always been a favourite. Getting carpet burn isn't a new thing either. Scoring many goals is a rarity. However, kicking some butts isn't.

This year however has been quite different from the years before. My participation in church activities has reduced. But I still do a considerable amount of work in church in a smaller scale. Simply helping out in the refurbishment of the church pews is something new this year. A service to God that flexes more physical muscles. Although I hope I could flex more spiritual ones. Not to worry, MYF CAMP 2005 would start tomorrow. Whoopie! We have this time, Pastor Hilmi Noor. Yeah, he should be bringing along a wealth of experience and stories about his detention and struggle being a Christian, not the typical ones we go through. However, I'm not downplaying our struggles.

I've been catching up with some friends who are back from overseas-more fortunate people. What is holiday without food! It was a crazy week this whole week as we move about Sitiawan insearch of good food. Can any good food come from this place? Ofcourse! My friend found out that a 'kong piang' shop opens around midnight and closes at 11 the next morning. He was shock! 'Kong piang' has always been the favourite snack of the foochows. Try some if you are here. It is quite hard, though. Ok, I have to pen off again. This time it is breakfast with some friends. Food again but I'm not putting on weight, infact I've been losing some kilos. Fatigue will not stop me from having more fun. God bless