=5= Melancholic Reflections: Blessings

Blessing are things that God has given us. Well, but the ability to be able to see them is up to the person. But like i said, because its based on a person’s perception, One might mistake something bad to be a blessing from God. For example, someone who likes alcohol, when they get a free drink, is that really a blessing?

For we are all beings of need, we need Air, Water, Food, Hope and Worth, if we are not blessed then why are we still alive?
I don’t know why people find themselves pitiful over small little things, while so many children are born in places where people are starving, dying and being forced to do what they do not want to do. I thank God that i was born in Singapore, and not in Africa where i will be hungry, not in Afghanistan where wars are, not in places with natural disasters. I have my life safe in Singapore.

However, Physical brokenness isn’t anything like emotional brokenness. People who has been through emotional brokenness will treasure physical blessings even more. People who has been through bad family relationships, went through loneliness will really treasure what they have. They will understand that what they have on the hands are temporal, and they will focus on the more permanent things.

Jesus himself did not exempt himself from suffering. He suffered willingly to save me. No matter how broken i am He would save me. No matter how useless i am, He would save me! And because of that, we can take heart that when we go through spiritual battles, we aren’t going through it alone. We are going through this with a God who knows how is it like to live like a human to suffer like a human to die like one.

But I am not saying that i have this ultimate power to discern from blessings and fake blessings, but i would think that the most important thing in my life are my relationships with people. People are both physical and emotional blessings. When going through a tough time, what could be more of a comfort than the presence of your loved ones, beside you, supporting you? If Jesus Dwells in every single one of us, then wouldn’t the famous Les Miserables line ‘Loving another person is like seeing the face of God’ be true?

I know this post wasn’t written like i normally would have, this was to show how much i take this seriously. God has blessed me, that much i know. But the real important question is this, can i see it everyday? I recommend writing down all your blessing everyday. After a few months, you will be able to see how much God has blessed you. This shows you how faithful God really is when the time gets tough. When the time isn’t tough, God is there when the time gets tough, the tough doesn’t get going, God gets you going.

I hope this post on blessing will help you(I realised that i use ‘hope this has blessed you’ a lot…) Help you to be able to see God’s faithfulness in your life!

-Kelvin-

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=4= Books I’ve Read: Pain

Hey Guys! I just finished Phillip Yancey’s ‘Where is God when it hurts’. So from the  title you would have already guessed that this book is addressing the problem of Pain.

Philip Yancey said that Pain is very much like a warning system. it sensors loudly to alert the body of dangers and forces one to pay attention to the problem area. The book went on to mention this doctor, Dr Brand. Dr Brand is a renowned doctor, an expert on leprosy. After reading many passages in the Bible that mentioned Leprosy, it has certainly gotten my attention. I thought Leprosy was a disease that rots away the human flesh without pain. Apparently Leprosy primary works like an anaesthetic, simply attacking your body to cause numbness. So how is it possible to lose limbs? well without pain, one cannot recognise dangerous pressures, they would not know when to stop, when would it hurt them. They could be cutting themselves but not notice it. Without the gift of pain, it would be difficult to do what i would like to do, playing drums, eating even opening a door would be difficult. 😦

The book also points out that there is difference between pain and suffering. For example, a Leper would not feel pain but is suffering lots. But God is amazing, he is able to turn a horrible situation around, make it great! Sometimes joy can come out of suffering. for example, a hiker climbs for hours, he is hungry and tired. When he eats and drinks something, it is going to be more delicious than when he eats it when he is not tired and hungry. A person who has gone through life with a broken family will treasure this family more in the future.

Well, do you ever wonder why would someone actually suffer? Was it because of a past sin? Was it to test you? Well, Phillip Yancey offered two observations.
1) many old testament passages warn against painful consequences that follows specific actions.
Well this still stands true today! You eat alot, you grow fat. You don’t read the Bible you can’t protect yourself with the word

2) some old testament passages show God causing human suffering as punishment for wrong behaviour.
but every single time something like this happens in the old testament, it will come with lots of warning. Luke 13 says

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Well, we are all deserving to suffer for the sins we have done. the person who has cancer and the person who doesn’t, both have sinned.

Most of the time when we suffer, we will tend to find out the cause of our suffering. We will ask ‘God, why me? why put me in this position?’. But God seems to be silent. In the book ‘Disappointment with God’ Phillip Yancey has a few theories, that knowing why we suffer will not help us, the israelite know why they are suffering, but what can they do?

“Knowledge is passive, intellectual; suffering is active, personal. No intellectual answer will solve suffering. Perhaps this is why God sent his own Son as one response to human pain, to experience it and absorb it into himself. The Incarnation did not “solve” human suffering, but at least it was an active and personal response in the truest sense, no words can speak more loudly than the Word.”

Another theory is that the reason of cause is beyond our reach, we would not be able to understand.

But God focusses more on our response than the cause. I remember that the book said this, whenever one non-christian falls ill, God lets a christian fall ill, just as to show the difference in response. James 1:2 says this

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This passage is not calling us to be crazy and shout, ‘Yay! God is making me suffer!’ But rather it calls us to consider it joy that we are suffering, for that is when i can grow the most!

I like to end with this. God did not exempt himself from suffering. He, brought himself down to our level, faced every single temptation we have faced, but still with no sin.The Temptation of Jesus is incredible, a loaf of bread will tempt anyone who has fasted for forty days, an assurance of safety would appeal to someone who was about to face torture and suffering and the splendour of all the earth kingdoms was predicted for the Messiah. Satan was giving God a ‘shortcut’ to achieve all his messianic goals. With no sin, he suffered like a human and died like a human. He did not rejoice, saying, ‘Yay Daddy God, i am going to suffer and die!’ but He said, ‘Father if you are willing, take this cup away from me’ He obeyed God until the end.

Well, This book is really such a great one! In fact i highly recommend it! I alway learn lots from Phillip Yancey’s books, well, i only read two… 😛 Ok hope this will help you to decide to read this! Trust me, there are much more content in the book than just this!

-Kelvin-

=3= Books I’ve Read: Digging Deeper

Hey guys! I finished another book! 
This time, its ‘Dug Down Deep’ by Joshua Harris
This book is based on the verse, Matthew 7:24-27
The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

It does not address to non-christians, it addresses christians. This verse show the difference between a well grounded christian and a weakly grounded christian. A well grounded christian is someone who not only hears God’s word, he takes action! Such a christian will not be shaken when tough times come! For he will have solid ground to stand and believe in God. That is why the book is called ‘Dug Down Deep’, It calls us to dig deep for rock!

So if u haven’t figured it out yet, this book is actually talking about theology, which means the study of God! Well, i admit it, studying God is not something that is easy, in fact it is super duper difficult…  Everyone struggles with it! As we have learned in cell, the triple threats are against us! The world, our flesh and the devil is against us! But press on! Studying God is worth it! 

I loved how the book puts studying of God’s word,
“There is right way and a wrong way to approach the doctrine of God. We can study God with a microscope or a telescope. a microscope makes something very small look very big. But this isn’t the way we are to magnify God. We should be like children under a telescope, its lenses enables us to see just how much bigger and more awesome something is than we first imagined”

This analogy actually would surface certain mistakes that we have taken in reading God’s word. Are we approaching theology in a sense that puts us bigger than God? Are we assuming that it’s God’s job to love us? I believe that we should be surprised that there is still goodness for people like me, i mean i have sinned against God, i have caused him to die, in fact He could just simply destroy us all! But he chose the way that costed him the most! He came down to the world he created to be a lower being, suffer like a human, and died for us! Is it God’s job to love you? is he obligated to? i believe not, but God chose to! He didn’t do it unwilling like us going to school, He did it because he loved us SOOOO Much!
But are we taking God’s love for granted?

Have you ever ask God, “God, please show me a sign!” Haha, i have… well the problem is being able to see and discern the sign, if God shows me a sign, i will ask God, “God, is that the sign? show me another sign to tell me if that is true” its an unending cycle where i find myself not satisfied, worse, what if the devil takes this chance to show me a ‘sign’ to encourage me to displease God? This book showed me this, why seek this unreliable source, when you know what the Bible has said about it? Why question the constant and unchanging Holy Bible that is so perfect that u cannot even add to it?

John 1:1 says
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Well, If the Word is God, shouldn’t we seek more of it? and more importantly act on what we have learned? Its God’s Words that actually created us, would’t that make the Bible important? its God Breathed! We should continue to approach it and dig deeper into God’s Word, guys, dun settle for superficial faith, dun be lazy and not clear your doubts! We all have questions when we learn something, i believe that applies to God’s word too! Dun be afraid to ask questions! Ask more, learn more, gather ground, dig for Rock! So when something comes, you will be steady and not fall!

I hope this long note has blessed you!  I hope you will get to read this book! It is a really nice to book to read to know more about God! I only provided a super condensed review, but if u can pick this book up and read it! I learned alot from it!  So ya! Thank you for reading!

-Kelvin-

=2= Books I’ve Read: The First Few

Ok lets do some Reviews! HEHEHE! well I have been reading! Sincerely surprised that i actually picked up the habit! But it is a great habit to have!

The first book that i have read this year was this book named,

‘Do Hard Things’ by Alex and Brett Harris
sounds weird right? actually it is pretty interesting, it goes on to say that the word ‘teenagers’ is only used in the last century. And that the Bible dun have a chapter or verse that actually targets teenagers.

in 1 Corinthians 13:11,
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. (NLT)
It only refers to Child and Adult. it does not say ‘teenager’

So why is this important?

It means that Teenagers are meant to live for more! Teenagers are meant to take up responsibility! After all, our ‘teen years’ is the time where we have the MOST TIME! In fact, the time we use for TV, Games, Etc etc, Could be used to Glorify God, could be used to impact the world! This should be the life that God has called us to! Not Mediocre life, but one full of meaning! This Book, challenges Teenagers to take up responsibility to live a life that God has meant for us to live!
The next book i read was this book by Eric and Leslie Ludy, ‘When God writes your Life Story’
This book is also about living a life that God has meant for us, not a dull life! This book goes more in dept into letting God take control of your life! Sometimes, most of us sing songs, pray prayers that say that we surrender it all to you! BUT do we really mean that? Some of us, still have areas in our lives that we refuse to let God write our life. The Life that God has meant for us is an AMAZING life! its an unending frontier! It’s a mountain so high that we can’t climb on our own! We need God’s strength to pull through, we need God to carry us up to the peak!

Then I read Joshua Harris’ “Sex is not the problem(Lust is)” 
Lust is a common problem among men, in fact, we all have weakness to lust, Both Men and Women are tempted by the devil to lust! In fact, in the society we live in, Women are encouraged to lust over guys! Shocking, but true. This book showed me that Sin first starts in our mind, maybe that is why when Jesus preached, he raised the bar, to say that sin in the mind is sin! They pointed to King David, a man after God’s own heart. Even King David, a man after God’s heart, fell to temptation and lust, committed adultery with Bathsheba, do u think u are safe? This book provides great suggestions and insights on how to overcome Lust!

Then i went on to read ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ by Joshua Harris
This book’s title sounds really weird i know… but it is a super interesting book! Many people told me that when i was reading it!
It shows how superficial dating really is in real life. It challenges people to wait until they are ready to date, for the right girl at the wrong time is the wrong girl at time. If we choose to date now, do we have the ability to support the other party? Are we really ready for commitment? When we get into a relationship, what is our motives? To get the girl? To be able to enjoy intimacy with her without the commitment? all these motives are selfish and someone is bound to be hurt… they had this phrase which i think is great! ‘The Joy of Intimacy is the reward of Commitment’
It then show the way we should seek friendship before relationship, for it is too easy to be someone else on a date, it is with friends that we reveal our true self!
Finally, this book says that we should base our love for our spouse on the example of Jesus’ Love for us! Just as Jesus has loved us so much, Jesus’ kind of love is the kind of love we should imitate, the love that we shouldn’t just show our spouse, but show everyone!

There is a second part to i kissed dating goodbye and that is ‘Boy Meets Girl: say Hello to Courtship’ In Which you should only buys when you are ready to date! (well, for me, i just wanted to learn more) This book goes to show what a heathy relationship with someone should be! The threats of an unhealthy relationship, the attitude of it. In a relationship with someone, we should approach it with a heart that says, i want to serve the person. This is ways to help two people to get into a courtship, a stage where is more than friends and less than lovers. A stage where is so difficult. A stage where they are to pursue a deeper form of friendship.

Then, i decided to try to read a book of Kenneth Yeo’s favourite author, Phillip Yancey. “Disappointment with God”
This is a book that surrounds the idea on being disappointed with God. When things dun turn out the way it should. When someone with great faith dies, what is the reason? Why Wouldn’t God show himself as much as during the Old testament? why not just do something, and make everybody believe?

Well, In the old testament, though signs of God are very prominent,(The different plagues, Water from rock, pillar of fire and cloud) People in the old testament still do not have faith… People were relying on the signs to believe in God. But that kind of Faith never last, the Israelites created a golden calf as a god. In fact, It is through silence and hiddenness of God, that Faith really Grows, for example, Abraham, he was told that his descendants will be made into a great nation, but at his old age, he still was not a father, but he gotten a son in his old age. and when God ask him to sacrifice his son, he had faith to do it, even though its painful! It then had a study of Job, which interested me quite a bit! Job was someone who had a lot, he had a lot of flocks, he had 10 children, but he lost everything in one day. Though he had lost everything, he had, he did not sin against God! And Job died happily! It goes to show that faith built through trials and testing cannot be shaken, cause it was built through being shaken! It is an interesting Book! I learned A LOT from it!

Then Finally, i recently read the book by Joshua Harris again, “Stop Dating the Church and fall in love with the family of God”
This isn’t a book on relationships with the opposite sex, this is one on the relationship with the church! This book, shows why people would church hop and not settle down in a local church. It shows the benefits of staying in a local church. It shows that we should love the church because Jesus himself loves it! We should just be dating a church not looking for a commitment, we should be married to a church, settling down and grow! It is a great book to read to understand that the life we have on earth is not a solo pursuit!

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Well, i like end off with this, i really hope you try reading books! Cause we can learn so much from it! The church can only help u learn on Sundays, but you can learn every single day by simply reading! Trust me it is a difficult habit… in fact my first two books took me three months to complete reading… Well, but it is not about simply reading it, digest it! I hope you will be encouraged to learn by reading as well! Hope you like my reviews! Hope it has blessed you one way or another! God bless you!

-Kelvin-

=1= Retreat Reflection 2013: Disconnected

Well, Retreat was just over, but ya simply this, i felt sincerely disconnected, not with God, but with my friends… I guess i was in a place where i am left out by my good friends… I dunno, but i Have been so  close to them that when something like this happens i felt really bad…

Well, i was a Coach IC for the late bus for retreat. It was quite a nice but scary experience. For it was late at night, we are all sleepy, this included the driver. Well he was quite awake, but i guess with me being paranoid, i constantly woke up to check on the driver and check behind to see if everyone was alright. I guess people like Elle and Joyce saw me and knew i was tired. But thank God we reached there safely and manage to get lots of sleep.

Well i guess it was the free day when i went out with TWISTERS that i felt disconnected. We went to Marchè to eat and i felt left out… 😦 I guess it was mainly because i went to the toilet and couldn’t find anyone anywhere when i came back. Then i was really sad, so i went into the prayer lab with these feelings and i rant to God, I was there telling God about my hurts and my feelings. But God did work! He gave me peace once i got out of that room! I went to the altar call that day and God reminded me of His goodness! And i received unspeakable Joy!

I did mention i was disconnected with my friends right? Yup i was, with my REGULAR friends. I had the privilege to teach Raegan, Ben Ben and Arel how to play bridge. I guess i was closer to them after the retreat! My cell, FOOTSTEPS also became closer during the retreat! FOOTSTEPS, thank you for making my retreat! I really enjoy being able to talk to you all, to be able to share a bond with a cell i never grow up in was something i would treasure! Thank you for making my experience in cell amazing! 😀

MANONO! Hahahah! I love you guys man! though all 3 Water Rise Card came from us… But you guys are really fun! I came to Manono right, realising that you guys are so quiet! :< That is not good! Well, but i did see change after the island game! I saw your personalities and character and i wanna comment you all!

Jolene
Hey Nice working with you again(counting the time in youth alpha training)! Well, I hope you didn’t have a hard time taking up the group? So sorry i couldn’t be ther earlier… But ya, it was great to be able to see you working so hard to help Manono, like when you want all of us to have a meal together! Jiayou Continue to be a great leader!

Clara
Hey Clara! Great working with you, though we didn’t talk much, see you around? We shall talk! Haha! Thank you for taking up the group and lightening up the work! 🙂 Jiayou! Continue to grow!

Annabel
I am so sorry i mixed you up with Clara… i am so bad with names…. :/ But ya, talk more ok? we shall talk when we see each other around as well! 😛

Esther
Esther! Hey i wanted to praise you for serving others the cake before yourself! People don’t seem to realise, but the little things show character, and character is really important! Continue to be a godly person and continue to be like that and i am sure you will make a great leader(<hint> Calling uh! :P)

Caleb
It was such a privilege to see you grow! Eh, i never remember you to be so quiet leh, TALK MORE!!!!

Jon
How’s ur throat? Wow! Seeing you shouting so loudly for God, i was really impressed! continue and make that consistent! Be a child of God in school just like you are at home just like you are in church!

Shaun
Ha! I got it right this time! Well, I know you have a heart for people! continue to have that heart! Be more aware of yourself! And i am sure you will be an amazing man of God!

Rueben
Cute boy! Oi! Don’t close yourself up just because you are not comfortable with us leh! Talk to us more!

Phoebe
Hey it was really awesome that you took the initiative to talk to the leaders for us during the island game! Jiayou! Continue to Love God! Continue to Work hard in school! Yay Ngee Ann! 😀

Well retreat didn’t end when we left the hotel, i enjoyed my trip with Vanessa, Claire, Sis Chee and Aaron! Well, though most of the time we were sleeping, we did bond over the ride. oh and Vanessa, the pineapple tart was not bad! 🙂 Thanks! Claire, The curtain thing was really funny! 😛 Sis Chee, get well soon! Aaron, I shall see see when i host the outing!

Well, I guess disconnected may be the word to describe my Retreat, but God has blessed me in so many different ways! 😀 I believe God disconnected me with my regular friends to get me out of my comfort zone to know more people well! It certainly was an unique retreat!

-Kelvin-