Monday, February 6, 2012

Leap of faith

I came across the word 'agnostic' a few times in my life, and recently I decided to read more about it. The rough idea I got about agnosticism is it is impossible to know for sure or with certainty if God exists or not, mainly due to human limitations to prove so. There are some views which make agnosticism even very justified and logical, so that they don't totally reject God's existence as well. But all of this are based on human thinking, intelligence and logic, solely. In the end, what would be one word to best describe it? Doubt. Agnostics are unsure and cannot be certain if there's a God, but what's worse is they're saying that would be the case, forever. They would never know if God exists is what they're saying. Eternal doubt. Doesn't sound all that good does it? I'm filled with sympathy and pity for them actually. Without God, how did the earth and all living creatures came to be? If they cannot come up with an answer as to whether God exists or not, much less would they be able to do so for that question, since the earth has been around for at least thousands of years. What evidence or means of justification would they use to know for sure about the earth's origins? They would come up with more theories, but that's as far as it goes. And guess what, they are left in more doubt than before.

Atheism is somewhat related to agnosticism, except that the existence of God is denied. I say related because like agnostics, atheists lack the evidence or means to prove the existence of God. Since they can't prove it, they say God doesn't exist. But are atheists able to prove that God does not exist? In this aspect agnostics are different, saying they can't prove if God does or does not exist. Again, the same question applies: How did the earth and living creatures came to be? Both atheists and agnostics cannot give a definite answer, but only theories. The Big Bang and evolution theories perhaps? Uncertain, yet to be established theories because humans simply cannot. It is beyond their means to answer such a question, for the atheist and agnostic. They are unsure, and they continue to be.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

~Hebrews 11:1 [NIV]
Sure. Certain. Definitive words. Faith would be the exact opposite of doubt. The answer to the question which seems to be unanswerable? The very first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

~Genesis 1:1 [NIV]
It is really as simple as that. What's more,
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

~Romans 1:20 [NIV]
What has been made is the world and its living creatures - the animals, the birds, the reptiles, the sea creatures, the fields, the mountains, the sea, the sun and moon, the galaxies, the universe, everything. All these we can see; men are truly without excuse. God is real and wishes to have a true, loving relationship with His own creation, mankind. Those who know and love Him He will grant a peaceful, fulfilling, meaningful and eternal life. Humanly speaking, it's too good to be true. But humans were never created to be alone. We have seen the inevitable results of hopelessness and doubt when humans depend wholly on their skills, minds and efforts - atheism and agnosticism. Yet in the spiritual realm, with God, it's both too good and too true at the same time!

As Christians, we see all these and feel God's non-physical but spiritual presence in our lives, enabling us to be certain of the unseen God and of course, life eternal.

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

~Deuteronomy 4:29 [NIV]

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

~Hebrews 11:6 [NIV]

There's good news for the unsure out there; all you need is start to seek and rely on the one and only God, together with the faith that clears all doubts, and don't be surprised when you are struck by and see crystal clear the reality of God.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Yesterday I had a band practice for a certain event. A beginner, Amy is the drummer in the band and incidentally my second apprentice. Since she never had proper musical training, obviously music-related skills do not come to her as naturally as they to me. I'll explain. When she plays the drums while following the music and singing along, she somehow cannot play according to the beat and right timing; she just goes off. Therefore I suggested that she counts while playing and do not follow the music, and then she gets the beat right. It is ironic because as a member of the band, one should be following the music and song but Amy has to deliberately block out the music she is listening to and focus solely on counting so that the drums go according to beat. And it works! Of course this does not mean she does not listen to the music at all now that she is improving, but when it comes to more complicated parts of the song she still has to rely on counting and ignoring the sounds. It is a guarantee for her to play perfectly.

In day to day living, I find myself like her now and again. I find myself in the midst of thorns, being choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14). I know to live right, I have to ignore what is happening in the world around me and follow the principles I hold. Once I follow or entertain what is happening in my surroundings, I go off track and end up wasting time instead of doing what I should. I go off beat. Only when I isolate myself and stick to my principles will I be able to play according to beat - God's beat that is. To hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15) are what I want to do. And it is no wonder that the word 'persevering' was used. Here's one definition of persevere: to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

So just as counting ensures accuracy in timing and beat of drums, the Word of God, the Bible containing God's commandments and instructions is what guarantees perfect and right living. Living in a world where you can see, hear and be influenced by everything around you, yet trying to set yourself apart or 'block out the noise' proves difficult, no doubt. But to persevere means much, and that with the strength God provides.

"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them."

~ Jeremiah 32:39 [NIV]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can do

First thing that came to mind when I woke up this morning.

When it comes to the most important things in life, you are always presented with the choice of choosing to or not to. By most important things, I mean time, health, character to name a few.

Speaking from a student's perspective, there are so many things to juggle in a day such that sometimes, or rather most of the time 24 hours a day is just not enough. Yet 24 hours it will be, that will never change. And so prioritizing and putting first things first comes into play. We know that studies are supposed to be the top priority, yet fun and exciting activities seem to get in the way all the time and we end up playing and find we lack time to study. But wait, you have the option of pushing away those activities. You can actually choose to spend time studying. It might not be the most exciting thing to do, but it is the wiser. You can also choose to use your recreational time wisely by doing things that are productive and would be of use in the future.

Unpalatable (so to speak) vegetables or delicious fast food? White rice or brown rice? Bland chicken meat or tasty processed sausages? Sleeping early or in the wee hours of the morning going online and phone texting? Again, it all boils down to what you would choose in the end. Very easy to take the more appealing option, yet the choice of choosing the healthier option remains.

When everyone else around you is swearing, cursing, mocking; drinking, smoking or clubbing; cheating, deceiving, betraying, gossiping; quarreling, fighting, rebelling; robbing, destroying and vandalizing, it is easy to follow the crowd. But when everyone is flirting, you can choose to be set apart; in the midst of cheaters, to be trustworthy and righteous; while people are gossiping, to not participate in it; in the middle of a fight, to not retaliate and walk away; when persecuted and insulted, to remain calm, cool and controlled. Standing your ground when 'everyone else is doing it'.

The catch is, there is a difference between merely saying and choosing. One could say, 'I will clock in 3 hours of study today' or 'I will sleep by 11PM' and not do what they mentioned. Most of the time they say such things because they have the desire and will to do something, but somehow lack the final step in realizing it. Choosing however differs in a sense it is the combination of both desiring and acting on it. For instance in a chess game your opponent asks you 'black or white?', and you say 'white' because you decide to choose it, obviously you would not then proceed to arrange the black chess pieces on your side. Once you have chosen white, you would play with white. When you choose something, the action definitely follows through.

So the next time you know you need to study, do not say 'I will/must study afterwards'. In this case, words do not mean anything. Instead, quietly make the decision in your heart 'I choose to study later'. And remember, after choosing it is a done deal.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Matthew 16:24-28
24 Then Jesus said to the disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.
25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.
26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
27 For I, the Son of Man will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds.
28 And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see me, the Son of Man, coming in my Kingdom."


Thursday, July 14, 2011


(All verses quoted are in the New International Version)

"Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out."

~Psalm 10:15
The ugliness and stains confessed and acknowledged. Called to account. Reduced to pieces and fragments. Fulfilled.

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

~Acts 17:26
The precise times and location. The 21st century, in a city; institutions in which sick or injured persons are given medical or surgical treatment abound.

The Word was fulfilled in its entirety, and despite so there remained a shimmer of hope. To have it planned out so as to produce the possibility of making the shattered united in one piece once more and consequently turning it into reality very much resembles something He did before; the crucifixion. As man sinned and brought about his only fate, death, He familiarly created an alternative course for the inevitable retribution of mankind's unfaithfulness. Both non-fiction circumstances mentioned were dealt with justly, yet the very culprits were enabled to live on- the price they had to pay already being paid for. And yet, He holds true to and accomplishes the Word without exception whatsoever. His plans are not concealed; His Word has endured and remained throughout history, and will remain. The Word is the absolute truth, is absolute perfection and wisdom, will absolutely come to pass.

"And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times."

~Psalm 12:6

In shrewdness, every time He was forced to display wrath, execute punishment and bring about destruction in serving justice, He already had mapped out the escape route- an escape route which in fact does not involve contradiction or compromise of the perfect standards and godly values- even the Word. The result of His skilful mastery.


In way, in word, in Him,
He is.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A matter of respect

In a math question, there's right and wrong. One plus one equals two. If anyone says otherwise he would be wrong. In yes or no quizzes or exams, there's right and wrong. It's only so that it would be possible for the exam-taker to be graded. In any of the above scenarios, we are expected to choose the right answers. Only then would it be possible for anyone to do well in life. But of course, when it comes to more complex matters you would be required to explain your answer. Explanation, together with the right answer, equals full marks.

In life, there's right and wrong. Yes, we would all like to choose the right answer. However, what is considered right is relatively, relative. Your friend might think what he is doing is right, and you would beg to differ. So, this can be categorized under 'complex matters' - explanation is now required; for justification, to determine which right is, in fact, right. In the event that you are right, and your friend is wrong, well, good for you. With your right answer you hammer and assault your friend with clever and intellectual answers, leaving him no place to take shelter or refuge. He's wrong, and that's that. I give the right answer, and a flawless explanation is the icing on the cake. Full marks I get. Well, not quite.

You see, interaction with people is different. People have feelings, emotions. They have dignity and a sense of self-worth. Being humans, none of us would like our feelings and reputations to be trampled on, even when we're in the wrong. And so life differs from examinations on paper. Empathy, compassion and mercy are required. I have found communication skills with other people so important that it is certainly regretful how they are not included in a student's academic syllabus, at least not in Malaysia. Instead, knowledge about most things that people wouldn't use or even remember in life (namely history and additional mathematics, no offense) are implemented.

Tactfulness is in many ways key. There are so many ways in conveying a message, but how do the ways differ from each other? How is it that the outcome of them would differ to such a great extent? To express exactly what you feel to another person, yet delicately taking his emotions and feelings into consideration and not ruining his image whilst expressing, is a skill that I believe needs to be learnt. Once acquired, things would flow much more smoothly; unnecessary and unhelpful dissension and strife are profitably bypassed. And guess what? It doesn't really matter if you're right or wrong, unless the gravity of the situation is indeed exceptionally grave so that it would matter if you're right or wrong, which is highly unlikely in most cases. What matters most is how other human beings like ourselves would feel in the end. A self-absorbed person would think of this as a nuisance. It takes sincerely putting yourself in someone's shoes to recognize that how another feels is equally as important as how you would yourself feel. If the other party is being unreasonable, you'd need that skill- to correct him of his error and protect his pride simultaneously in spectacular fashion.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

~Proverbs 15:1 [NIV]
May God give us the grace to behave only in the way the former of the sentence describes.

P.S. Windjammer, this is what you taught me. Thanks. ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Last night in the cell group meeting I was attending, the main topic of the day was "Remembering your First Love", talking about how we should remember our first encounter with Jesus, because that is a good reminder of why we do what we do for God. A brother in Christ added that that alone was not enough; we should have frequent encounters with Jesus; every week, every day, every hour. Those encounters would boost, energize and fire you up to face any challenge at all just when you feel like everything's crumbling down and you're on the verge of giving up.

Interestingly enough, after I got back home I went online and chatted with a friend of mine for awhile via MSN messenger. She was my former classmate during secondary school. What I could say about her? She was terribly fierce, rough, rude where she blindly swore all the time. She seemed pretty hopeless in the academic field as well; sleeping in class being her usual routine, she would fail one or two subjects for every exam or test. Recently, we met up with a bunch of other classmates, where I learned she had actually turned over a new leaf and had been hardworking; something was definitely up. In the conversation window there was a link to her latest blog and instinctively I clicked on it. I went on to read her recent blog posts and I started to notice through her various entries that she was indeed a different person altogether. I felt even more so when I saw links to Christian music and scripture verses there! With all these I for a moment doubted if I was reading her blog; I thought it might have been someone else's! It was obvious that she was already a committed Christian. Curiosity most surely got the better of me and I asked her when did she become a Christian. With that, she told her story of how she in April this year accepted Christ, how she had come to believe in our awesome God and changed so much for the better, so much so that now she had enough control of herself not to swear whenever she was going to! Not to mention her drastic improvement in her studies was a direct result of her faith in Christ! I was baffled and could not say much to her, in awe of what had happened to her. I truly felt joy in my heart. Just amazing. She had never been the same since. I honestly hope that she'd always be the way she is now for the rest of her life.

Before I went to sleep that night I connected the two happenings; there we were as a cell group talking about first encounters with God, and this friend of mine actually told me her very first encounter with God, which inevitably changed her life. Encounters with God are refreshing, encouraging, even life-changing. The question is, how? Do we have to wait for God to come? Do we have to atone for the sins that we committed before we can encounter Him? Is it that certain events must take place first, or we have to be in a particular circumstance or be holy to be able to encounter God? The answer to my raving in the form of all those questions is, no.
The amazing testimony of my friend who gave her life to Jesus recently; indeed she experienced freedom, blessings and many other good things that God has given. It was through her encounter with God that she is a changed person. But, what enabled that encounter? It was because of her decision and the step of faith that she chose to take. It was because she finally faced the truth and invited God into her life, and subsequently allowed the Holy Spirit to fill her. The moment she received, God's blessings snowballed into her life.

During Jesus' time, He invited many people to follow Him. Did all of them do as they were told? Apparently not. Remember the rich young man in Matthew 19:16? The last words Jesus said to him were, "Then come, follow me." after telling him to sell all of his possessions leaving him penniless, of course. The young man went away sad, according to Matthew's gospel, and there was no mention of him ever again. He chose to return to his own life of wealth. He chose to reject Jesus. And Jesus didn't beg him to come back. Jesus just let him leave, as God has graciously given us the liberty to make our own choices and decisions. On the other hand, when Jesus called James and John to be his disciples, Mark 1:20 says they left their poor father in the boat and followed Jesus! Whatever convictions or reasons they had, they chose to follow Jesus. They eventually became two of the twelve disciples and had literal encounters with Jesus all throughout the lifetime of Jesus.

There is a chinese saying '万事具备,只欠东风' which when translated sounds something like 'Everything is in place and ready, what's left is the east wind'. In ancient times people made preparations in order to set sail, but without the wind large ships could go nowhere. They needed the strong east wind for setting sail to be a reality. It is the same with encountering God. God has already planned everything so perfectly that in every circumstance, it is possible to encounter God.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

~John 3:16 [NIV]
Notice the word 'gave'. The Bible doesn't say 'For God so loved the world that He is going to give His Son.' No. Jesus Christ, the only Son of God had already died on the cross; our sins have already been atoned for. By His blood, we are cleansed of our iniquities and transgressions. It is done. Everything is already prepared. Why, Jesus stands right at the door!
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

~Revelations 3:20 [NIV]
Just as Jesus called the people of His time, He still calls us today. Well, if you want to you can choose to ignore him and leave the door shut. Or, you can open the door, invite Him in and have fellowship with Him as fellowship while eating. Are you willing to open the door? To let the Holy Spirit into your life? To love God and obey His commands? To allow God to use you? Are you willing to have an encounter with God? Because Jesus is already at the door. For those of you who have not accepted Christ, no one is stopping you except you. If you're thinking parents are an obstacle or this is not the right time, think again, because Jesus said 'follow me'; that's it. As Jesus has taken away your sins, all that's left for you is to believe (John 3:16). Just take that step of faith, and you will never regret encountering God. And for Christians, the same applies. Nothing or no one is stopping you from encountering God except you. Since the Word is God, you can encounter God daily by reading His word. You also can fellowship with Him daily through prayer. All you have to do is allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, and, like my friend, you'd never be the same again.

You are that east wind. The choice is yours, really. It all depends on you.