Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bypassing Beauty

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 8:47am
Few people notice details. Few people pause to notice the spectacular sunset out the train window. Few people stoop down to behold the intricacies of a simple flower.
Most people live everyday bypassing the beauty of nature.

Or maybe we are so surrounded by everything concrete and man-made that there is no decent place to relax and just take in the wonders of nature. We only ever get to do that on holidays. But then again, some people in the world never have the chance for a holiday!

I'm blessed enough to be living in holiday-land here in Australia. Nearly every week my family will explore some new park or go hiking. I LOVEEEE IT!

But yes, some people have to toil all year round and some people obviously will never have enough money to splurge on a luxurious holiday. I cannot imagine.

Another reminder to not take 'simple' luxuries for granted. Here we have fresh air, clean parks, green grass, blue skies. In many other cities there is much less beauty to behold, unfortunately.

What inspired this note was when I was walking to the station today, I passed a stretch of tall trees, and the heavenly thing was the sunlight streaming through the greenery. You could see the sunrays, you could touch it! How I wish I could just stand there for longer and soak it in. Alas, I had to rush off to catch the train! Haha that's when 'bypassing beauty' came to mind.



Monday, June 27, 2011 at 9:38am
I realize that a lot of the things I say, think and write are influenced by the things I've heard and read. Are my ideas really simply reiterations of thoughts that have already been thought and shared ages ago?

I think that's pretty much the case. If you have a new idea, or a brilliant phrase that just came to you, just google it up, and it is most probable that it would have already been thought of by someone sometime ago! I know, I always do that. What an ingenious way to gauge if my ideas are original... Hahaha, maybe I haven't got a life.

Anyway... reiterations. Are the things we say and think merely echoes of a true, original voice? I suppose all of us are moulded to some extent by the people we grow up with, by our parents and teachers, by the things we read, see and hear. But how much of our thoughts are unique to us?

We must be aware of the things that influence our musings. Are they good or bad, are they truly gold or fully crap? Seriously, I think it helps to be blunt here. Because we really don't want to allow crappy people or crappy books or crappy songs to fill our heads with crappy, worthless, distracting content. How then can we think straight, think well, think right?

How then can we speak words of life and truth if all we have is a jumble of mingled ideas from all sorts of senseless sources?

Of course, our own unique thoughts and personalities will merge with whatever we pick up from the external world. So really, no one is exactly reiterating or repeating the original idea from someone somewhere.

I do hope that once in a blue moon, and more often, I would have original ideas no one has thought of before. Stories and songs, poems and phrases, music and dreams, that no one has conjured before. That would be a thrill!

I don't want to die a copycat, although I suspect many people have. The problem is everyday we are surrounded by a myriad of ideas and opinions that, if we're not discerning, will strip us of the true you and true me.

We have to filter what we see, hear and read. We have to catch ourselves thinking! You'd be surprised to stumble on the content of your musings. We often don't think very coherently or thoughtfully when we daydream or even when we're thinking normally. See what you catch yourself pondering when you're sitting on the train with nothing to do. Then you'll have an inkling what really influences your thought processes and whether or not they're worthy influences!


I n t r i n s i c

Friday, June 24, 2011 at 11:25pm
I remember my dad once told me about intrinsic motivation. That's what inspired this note. For most people, and for most of our lives, we are taught to learn what we are SUPPOSED to learn. How many of us actually have the passion for the things we are learning?

Wouldn't it make a huge lot of difference if people were truly interested about the things they learn? How can we cultivate that intrinsic drive?

I now realize that for a long time, my parents have grounded in me a form of self-learning. From the time I was homeschooled, really, I was on my own when it came to learning. After a while, I realized that I'm not just learning for the sake of learning. I'm learning because I truly want to learn. I'm learning not simply by someone telling me what to do, what to write or think, but by digging things up myself, and uncovering hidden treasures by being creative, by writing, by composing music and poems of my own.

I think too many kids nowadays have teachers who don't care less whether they excel or just scrape through a pass. I see many young people nowadays not making full use of their youth and their brilliant minds and talents because no one is investing the time and imparting the right values and wisdom into their lives.

That's obviously why a lot of young people these days see no point in learning. There is no in-built motivation, there is no thirst for true knowledge. Even if people DO study, it is only for the sake of passing exams and 'getting a good score' or 'straight A's'. Just so you can get into uni, pass more exams, obtain a decent degree, and get a good job. Just so that you can earn money, pay the bills, buy a house and car, feed the family. And then what. Is that truly the point of learning?

I beg to differ!

I've thought about it. Awhile ago I've realized that these days, we waste a lot of time at school. Seriously, if everyone spent more time READING and writing and thinking, the world would be a much better place. Also, if everyone were given the chance to be creative, to compose, to write, to make music, life would be so much more fulfilling!

The problem is so many kids do not have such opportunities and even if they did, often the teachers do not truly care for these young people. Of course, there ARE the blessed few who DO care and who go past the ordinary level of doling out boring ol' theories and formulas and the usual things you have to learn to 'pass an exam' these days.

How many teachers have you had who have inspired you? Has anyone recognized a potential in you that had not yet surfaced at the time and he or she took time to draw it out? Has anyone gone past the level of ordinary, impersonal teaching to cultivate in you the intrinsic desire to learn and think as a unique & creative individual?

I think back, and I'm thankful to God for sending me three teachers who have impacted my life, my thinking, and my creative streak. The first two are my dad and mom! The most important thing they ever taught me to seek for myself, which cultivated in me an intrinsic drive, is God. To trust only in Him. They instilled in me the incessant reminder to pursue the things of God and to seek out the Truth. Without this, all the knowledge we have, all the experience and opportunities we may acquire, is pretty much meaningless!

C.S. Lewis said, 'I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.'

That pretty much sums up my own convictions. If you haven't got the thing that matters most at the center, the core of your being, then everything else can be thrown out the window! Because you're pretty much hanging on to all these other things, but walking about blind.

So yes, back to intrinsic motivation. The other teacher who really made an impact on my musical side is the piano teacher God blessed me with during my first year in Melbourne. Sandra Birze. She was one of those teachers you see in those inspirational movies. I was the hopeless kid. Seriously, I actually knew nuts about music. I was playing the notes, but I lacked technique, I lacked feeling, I lacked understanding. I can't say I have acquired all this by now, but that one year I had with her sure did open my eyes to all these aspects of music that I've been missing out on. I didn't have the opportunities before to grow in such a way. Now God answered the prayer I've been praying since 14 and I was going to seize the opportunity he was giving me!

A true teacher isn't just one who imparts knowledge and leave it at that. A genuine teacher with a heart is one who teaches in such a way that the student is inspired to LEARN FOR HIMSELF. So even when the teacher is gone, you can bet that the student will still be traversing that extra mile to uncover the hidden treasures for himself and make his own unique interpretations and works.

I aspire to be that kind of a teacher. And a teacher who truly teaches is one who also truly learns.

Carpe diem,

The Voiceless

Friday, June 24, 2011 at 4:26pm
'All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' Edmund Burke
Yes, to do nothing and remain silent.

How often does everyday life give us the opportunity to speak up for someone, for something we believe in?

Not very often. And even if we do get the chance, we often chicken out, and choose the easier path. To let it pass.

Countless times I regret later that I did not speak up and instead chose to squirm in my comfort zone when I knew I should have stood up and said something.

This world would be an even sadder place if there weren't the blessed few throughout the centuries who stood up, risked their lives and declared the truth. Or exposed it.

All of us are given unique opportunities. Some are given fewer opportunities than others. So what do we do when we have so much? Is it fair for those who have less that we keep our talents and opportunities for ourselves?

It's true that for those who are given more, much more is expected from them. Can you think of people who have so much in this life, but who live selfishly, keeping it all to themselves? Do you really want to be them? Do you really want to have their talents and yet share your gifts with no one?

'A man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from Heaven.' John 2:10

All that we have, 5 talents, or even 1 talent and opportunity, is given to us from God. Why so unfair, we wonder. But really, if you think about it, sometimes it can be a scarier thing to be given MORE. Because it is not to be kept to ourselves! The more we are given, the heavier the responsibility falls on us to do something purposeful with our gifts. And not to make a name for ourselves, but to use it to bless those who were not blessed with the opportunities to develop such talents.

Likewise, some of us are placed in positions to speak up for those who have no voice. It is not limited to adults, or to people in positions of authority. Where we are, in our schools, at work, we are in a position to speak up for those who are bullied, manipulated, and taken advantage of. If we see injustice and remain quiet, we are guilty of being complicit already. If we see lies and know the truth, but remain silent, we are already indirectly liars.

A zen saying goes, 'To know and not to do is not to know.'

It begins with the little things I guess. Sometimes we aim too high, expect too much of ourselves, that we neglect to seize the smaller opportunities that will help build our confidence and maturity to tackle the bigger things!

There are too many in our society who are voiceless, who stand in the shadows and go unnoticed, unreached, every single day. Often in our self-importance, we stride past these people. In our ignorance, we forget that it is not all about us, and not all for us. In our indifference, we become almost complicit to the injustices in our society. By 'minding our own business', we are in effect depriving a lot of people of an opportunity to live an abundant life.

Of all people, we have our ultimate role model, the best example we can follow, Jesus Christ. He taught the truth, he declared the truth, he exposed the lies and hypocrisy, and he not only spoke, he acted on his words too.

It is not enough to be nice. Every one can be nice just to feel good and settle their conscience. Sometimes its harder to speak up because it involves trashing that facade of feigned niceness. Sometimes for the sake of justice, for the sake of speaking for someone who cannot speak for himself, we have to throw away the niceties and embrace the cold, hard truth.

So let's.

Carpe diem,

The Pause Button

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 9:41am
Do you ever wish life had a pause button?

Sometimes I just want to stop. You get what I mean. Wouldn't that be delightfully convenient?

Some days we just don't have the motivation, nor the inspiration, or the strength to keep going. It'd be nice if we could hit the pause button and just have that window of time for our hearts and souls to catch up with our bodies and our fast-paced lifestyle!

People don't have time to think these days. I don't have time to read a thought-provoking and inspirational book. We don't have time to catch up with the people who matter. We don't have time to reach out to someone who needs a word of encouragement, a helping hand, a thoughtful gesture.

Yet we all know that if we go on everyday neglecting to do all these things, we really are not living. At least the way Jesus did. He had frequent windows of time where He would retreat to a place of stillness and renew his spirit. Jesus took time to pause and reach out to the people who were normally overlooked and downtrodden. Jesus made time to proclaim the truth and to wash his disciples' feet. He took time aside to remove himself from the world, to fast and pray and to meditate on the Word.

None of us seldom ever make all these things a priority as Jesus did. Can you imagine we continue living the way we do all our lives? In the end, what have we truly accomplished? Would we have truly lived each moment, not focused on ourselves, but on the people around us?

All is vanity if we do not live each moment for God's glory.

~ j a n i e ll e

Hope in the Rubble

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 11:28pm
It always crosses my mind - when I see tragedy strike, when I hear of the poor kids in Africa, when I see photos of the slums in India, when I live where I am everyday and life, people, society, just doesn't seem right, it always crosses my mind:


Is there hope in this mess? In this tangle of humanity, in such unrest, in war, in sickness, in poverty, in injustice, in unfairness? Is there any reason why people should go on living?

Sure, most of us privileged enough to have access to Facebook are obviously not too deprived, not too sick, not too poor, and you get where I'm getting at. But do we ever stop to think, amidst our wealth, our opportunities, our luxuries, that the majority of the world have none of these things?

We cannot fathom. I cannot. It blows my mind to think, well, we have about 20 million people in Australia. We're all well-off, comfortable, well-fed, well-paid, well-educated. Can you imagine, there are 1 billion people in India, ONE BILLION! And do you know that 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day? Not to mention other countries in Asia, South America and the Middle East.

Unthinkable! Our one meal out costs $10. Counting the cost of the clothes we have on, the shoes, the phones, the ipod, the bag, the money, the jewelry. We have so much more!

Its easy for us to comfortably believe in God. Its easy for us to go to church every Sunday. Its all so accessible. We have Bibles on our bookshelves, in the bookstores, in our phones. We have education, we have rights, we have privileges. We can actually enjoy life. So things are not too bad for us. What I'm talking about can't even apply to us, because most of us have never experienced any great tragedy or great loss.

And yet, people in such underdeveloped nations have always lived like that. Below the poverty level. Degraded and mistreated in society. We can sit here comfortably and say God is with us, blessing us.

Many people give such excuses to NOT believe in a God who's involved in our world, who's listening in, and whose hand is moving amongst men. We cannot fathom. How? How is it that things are so wrong, so messed up, so unfair if God is here?

For me, instead of saying, I see all this injustice, there can't be a God. I'm thinking, precisely because there is such injustice, such hopelessness, there HAS to be a God!

No matter how many times I sort it out in my mind, I will always return again to the same question every time I see something so sad, so tragic, so unfair, so terrible happen. Is God really in this with us? With these people?

The Word says He is right here. And He will reveal Himself to all those who call out to Him. Make that one prayer. That's the beginning of the faith of a mustard seed, as Jesus said. If it doesn't make sense, and you're thinking like me, how can there be a God? Make that prayer. I tell you for sure, God will reveal Himself and give you His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Salvation isn't MERELY about receiving blessings and living your best life now. It isn't about God being some sort of gumball machine, some sort of genie pandering to your wants at your convenience, at your disposal. Salvation is not just about 'going to heaven when you die'! Remember I used the words 'merely' and 'not just'.

But the essence of salvation in Christ Jesus is this, knowing that we are hopeless, we are lost, we are engulfed by darkness and injustice, and admitting that we NEED saving. Humanity needs saving. No man, no religion, no law, no education, no good works, no charisma, can save you and I, my friends! Only God, through Jesus Christ, can.

So why does God allow all these bad things to happen? Why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Why do some kids become orphans, why do some turn out notorious criminals, drug addicts?

We can ask all these why questions that will for the meantime go unanswered. I agree with C.S. Lewis when he ingeniously puts it this way:

'Can a mortal ask questions that God finds unanswerable? Quite possibly. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. It is like asking, why is yellow a square?'

Spot on! We humans cannot fathom God's ways. Yet I tell you, we are not meant to be entirely clueless. God breathed life into His inspired Word and there we will find our answers, our hope and encouragement, promises that will stand for eternity.

Although we cannot yet understand why all these sorrowful things happen, we can be rest assured that in all this, God IS in the rubble. Jesus was there. Jesus IS with us, with those people in their suffering. Whatever it is, even those who are notorious troublemakers, only God knows what happened right from the start. God knows the story behind each person's fault, failure and accomplishment.

There is hope in the rubble. There is light in the darkness. There IS a whiff of heaven on earth. There IS a God WITH US through the person of Jesus Christ and now through his Holy Spirit. Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved. So do not despair if you see injustice for the moment, tragedy for the time being. C.S. Lewis said, 'Pain is God's megaphone.' Yes, to wake us up. It is His severe mercy. If there is evil, there has to be good. If there is injustice, justice will come. Maybe not now, definitely not through men. But while we are here, we must speak the truth, be the light, as Jesus spoke the truth and lived in light of eternity.

Carpe diem,

From Dream to Waking

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 6:41pm
'This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake, I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. The dragon that pursued me last night can be fitted into my waking world. I know that there are such things as dreams; I know that I had eaten an indigestible dinner; I know that a man of my reading might be expected to dream of dragons. But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted my waking experience.

The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world; the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one!

For the same reason, I am certain that in passing from the scientific points of view to the theological, I have passed from dreaming to waking.

Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself! :O

I believe in Christianity [i believe in God] as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because BY IT I see everything else.'

~C.S. Lewis
P.s. So plain, yet so true! So simple, yet so profound!

Trees and Cages

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:56am
'God loved the birds and created trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.' Jacques Deval
Wow that just says it all! I'm loving this quote!

God loved man and gave him free will. Man loved himself and chose not to love his Creator.

That is how the world has become such a hopeless, sorrowful, godless place. It is not that God became ignorant and left creation to wallow in the mud and injure themselves in the pitch darkness. It is not that God is far-removed from men and wants to have nothing to do with us fallen creatures. It is not that God is not omnipotent, omnipresent, encompassing love, mercy and justice itself. He is still all this. And He still loves his rebellious people.

It is WE who have strayed far, who have chosen to walk out of the light. Instead of embracing the freedom God gives within His perfect will and good purpose, we prefer to do our own thing and in effect, invent cages and chains for ourselves to be entrapped in.

'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If any man HEARS MY VOICE and OPENS THE DOOR, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.' Revelation 3:20

He really is not far-removed from us. He is close by, always knocking and calling your name. But the noise this world has drowned out the Voice that matters most. Our own selfish plans and opinions have shut out the inaudible voice that can only be heard in the silence and stillness of the soul.

How often do we tune in to that voice? How often do we pause to listen? While walking to school, while travelling in the train, while going about our daily routine. Do we ever stop to listen?

And even if we do hear His voice, do we feel good for a moment, and then resume our lives as if the truth we stumbled on is nothing significant? Even if we do tune in, do we then OPEN THE DOOR of our hearts and souls to allow Jesus in?

It is all very figurative and quiet unfathomable. But may God give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and faith to believe!

People think that surrendering to God means to become limited, caged in, boring and uncreative. What! I beg to differ! On the contrary, surrendering and submitting our lives and plans to God will release us from our carnal bodies that so often entrap us and prevent us from living our purpose.

Turning to the One who designed us, who searches our hearts and knows what we are meant to do, just as a carpenter knows what to do best with a hammer and a nail, and a doctor knows best how to use a stethescope, God knows best what we were meant to be and destined to do.

Turning to God does not limit us, on the contrary, it unleashes our true potential, our original passion, our unique creativity and individuality in Christ!

So remember, just as God loved the birds and created trees, so He loves us and grants us free will. On this side of heaven we're given the choice to choose freedom in Christ, to love God back. Or to turn the other way and slide down the slippery slope to darkness and separation from the One who loves us most.

Glory to God!

We may only have tonight

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 9:31pm
Does it scare you to think that today might be your last day?

Then again, today is ALWAYS your last day. Because today will never come again. There will be no other day with the same opportunities, the same people whose path you will cross at that exact point in time. Today is the only day we have.

And what of tonight?

I tend to waste a lot of time at night. What I have to do, I delay, I think, Nah I'll do that tomorrow.

What if tonight is all I have left in the hourglass of life?


Yikes, then I shouldn't even bother with this! I'll go do what I know I must do now.

Make full use of tonight, today, the present moment in time. That's all you and I have! Seize it! Mark these words! Carpe diem, my friends!

Good night,

The Waiting Room

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 3:36pm
How much of our life is spent w a i t i n g?

Oh the dreaded word! The reason I thought about this is because I'm currently stuck in the train due to a delay. Waiting.

Really, how much of our life is wasted on waiting?

Well you can't always say its wasted time, though. It depends what we're waiting for.

If we're waiting because we've been delayed, interrupted, due to some inconvenience, then its a waste of time. But if we're waiting, for a loved one to emerge safe from the surgery room, for the plane to arrive and fly us to our destination, for freshly baked muffins in the oven, then the wait is worth it!

I don't even know where I'm heading here. Haha it so happened I was inspired to write about such a diabolically boring topic.

(Oh no, wait, I just thought of a point.)

Regardless WHY we're waiting, whether it is for a ridiculous reason or for a valid purpose, I guess it is what we DO when we're waiting that decides our state of mind. We can be stuck in the train, and get all worked up that it's 'one of those unlucky days'. Or we can think on all the days everything worked out well and be thankful that today gives us a chance to remember those days that we didn't bother to pause and be thankful for.

I agree, its easier said than done!

The waiting periods in life are agonizing! It matters not whether we're waiting for something good, or we're waiting because we've been placed into an unfortunate situation. But what I do and say, and think, at the time of waiting, really shows what sort of a person I am.

Do I complain? Do I treat others with contempt? Do I start throwing a silent fit?
Do I just dream on as I wait? Or do I look to God?

How often DO I look to God?

To some it is a remote notion, to 'look to God'. To others it is an everyday affair.

I do believe that looking to God, prayer, and reflection, makes a whole lot of a difference. It changes the course of my day by first changes the course of my mind, my thoughts, my will. And looking to God, begins with the little things. If we know not to commit to God even the littlest things that we do, how can we even think of surrendering to God the bigger things?

If we know not to turn to God in the seemingly most insignificant waiting periods of life, how will we know to call out to Him when we are in our most agonizing moments?

We are forgetful beings. We rely on ourselves. To rely on Someone we cannot tangibly touch and see, or audibly hear, is close to unthinkable!

But I am convinced I will do the unthinkable. I will believe the unthinkable. Even if the others think me a fool. Will you be a 'fool' in that sense?

It is in the silence that we hear the inaudible. It is in the moments of waiting that we learn to be thankful for the rest of the time that we do not have to wait.

It is in the waiting room that we have another God-given window of opportunity to pray, and allow God to turn a potentially hopeless situation around for us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God is G O D

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 7:57am
Excerpt from 'Our Daily Bread' ~

When Polycarp (AD 69-155), who was the bishop of the church at Smyrna, was asked by Roman authorities to curse Christ if he wanted to be released, he said, 'Eighty six years I have served Him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blasphemy my King who saved me?'

The Roman officer threatened, 'I you do not change your mind, I will have you consumed with fire.' Polycarp remained undaunted. Because he would not curse Christ, he was burned at the stake.

Centuries earlier, when 3 young men named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a similar threat, they answered, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from your hand, O king, that we do not serve your gods.' (Daniel 3:16-18)

A similar experience but two different outcomes. Polycarp was burned alive, but the 3 young men left the furnace unsinged.

Two different results but the same display of faith. The men showed us that faith in God is not simply faith in what God can do. But it is the belief that God is GOD whether He delivers us or not. He has the final say. And its our decision to choose to follow Him through it all.

-Albert Lee

N i c e Is Not Enough

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 7:01pm
""Niceness' - wholesome, integrated personality - is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic and political means in our power to produce a world where a many people as possible grow up "nice"; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls.

A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world - and might even be more difficult to save.
For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improve people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine."

-Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

I n s i d e Out

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 3:27am
Transformation and renewal of the heart, mind and soul happens from the inside.
We often forget that. We worry too much about this temporal, outer shell and forget the core essence of our existence that REALLY, truly matters.

Jesus said to the Pharisees, 'You hypocrites, you wash the outside of the cup but inside you are full of self-indulgence and wickedness.'

And again, 'You blind Pharisees! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but are full of rottenness and dead man's bones on the inside. Even so, you outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.'

Jesus saw right through them and spoke the plain, hard truth. We are just as hypocritical, I am just as guilty. When we see someone fail, before we criticize or judge, it would do us good to examine OURSELVES first.

How can we remove the speck in someone's eye if we ourselves have a plank in our eye?

It is not what goes in that makes a man unclean, but what comes out. Our thoughts and words, our actions and intentions are what determines who we truly are. Not what we eat or drink.

I find it interesting to note that Hitler was actually nearly quite as abstinent as a vicar! He actually never smoked nor drank liquor. He was strict and particular with his meal times and his diet. And yes, he was a vegan. I find that so absolutely strange! For such a tyrannical figure, it is quite unthinkable that he was physically such a disciplined man.

But then again, it may not entirely be that bizarre a personality trait. Often you find great contradictions between personalities like Hitler. He was extremely particular about what went into his body, but was there any morality and goodness coming out from within?

Then again, mentioned in my previous note is C.S. Lewis' understanding of evil, which I find quite humourously enlightening. He says that 'A man who is getting better will see more and more the evil still left in him, while a man who is getting worse will see less and less the badness within.' How true! While one is sleeping, one cannot tell he's asleep. When a person is not drunk, he can understand the it, but when he IS drunk, he has no sense whatever of his drunkenness.

It is the same with our hypocrisy. We worry about what goes in, we worry about man's traditions, we worry about other people, but how often do we see within ourselves and allow God's truth and light to expose the ugliness inside?

Expose. It is horrible to be exposed. To be exposed is to be vulnerable. Almost at the mercy of the person who now sees it all. God have mercy on us. But if we aren't exposed, we will continue in our blindness. 'Having a form of godliness but DENYING ITS POWER.' 2 Timothy 3:5

If we do not allow God to search our hearts, we will continue to wallow in man's approval thinking we're pretty good people. But we're not! I am not, you are not one bit good. And it is only when we realize that we are hopelessly full of wrongs that God can step in and be real to us.

Before, we think we are alright, self-righteous. But the truth will expose everything in the darkness. Don't be surprised many of us often will prefer darkness to light because it keeps our unsightly deeds & intentions hidden under the facade of godliness.

Only God's truth and His Spirit cleanses, transforms and renews our core beings from within and defines our identity in Christ. Only Jesus living in me and you can change us and help us to think, act and speak right.

Carpe diem,
Janielle =)

Understanding E v i l

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 5:25pm
'Remember that the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.

A moderately bad man knows he's not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he's all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you're sleeping. You can see mistakes in math when you mind is working properly: while you're making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk!

Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.'

~ from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
P.s. Haha I found that humorously enlightening! And remember, no one is thoroughly 'good'.

C r o s s

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 10:37pm
'We are bid to take, not make our Cross.' William Gurnall
I had to read that twice.

What a powerful and succinct quote referring to Jesus telling the disciples, 'If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and TAKE UP HIS CROSS, and follow Me.' Matthew 16:24

We are bid to take, not MAKE our cross! Yet the latter rings true for many of us today. Or worse, the very idea that Jesus told his disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross might have not even crossed our minds! Or maybe we know, but we choose to avoid the prospect.

Yet Jesus said, 'Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.' Matthew 16:25

What a paradox! It is hard for our puny minds to grasp it. Even if we fathom the concept for a moment, it fades from our understanding the moment we begin living our daily life. That is our cross. To deny ourselves our selfish desires, and to seek out and do the will of God. To do the right thing, the thing that we each find most difficult to do. One of the things for me is learning patience. It sounds all very chaste, almost austere, but I think the point we begin to make a daily habit to take up our cross, we find our true identity in Christ Jesus and our true destiny & purpose! Apart from God, our achievements and dreams are nothing but a momentary candle burning, which will soon be extinguished. And our efforts lead us nowhere closer to the purpose for which we were placed where we are.

Do not deceive ourselves to think that we can make up what we decide our cross to be. Often we will make the mistake of choosing what is convenient and easy. That which costs us nothing cannot be offered to God. Not that God needs our petty givings, but He only desires to form in us a pure heart, a giving and genuinely committed spirit. Hah! Easier said than done.

Nevertheless, we are not supposed to become a hermit and try to do this alone! If we think we can bear the cross by our human strength, we deceive ourselves. Only by the grace of God can you and I deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Jesus. It all sounds very grand, but in daily life its less conspicuous, I imagine.

So yes, it is only by the grace of God and by the measure of faith that He provides that we are able. Without Him, we can do nothing.

'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' Phillippians 4:13

Not things that pleases me to do, not what is convenient at the time, but the things that are pleasing in God's sight and the things that are His will for me. Then I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Carpe diem,
Janielle =)

The Visitors