Category Archives: Christian Faith

Hallelujah! Christmas Blessings!


‘Tis the season to remember the gift of God to all mankind.

For unto us a child is born, a son is given….. (Isaiah 9:6)

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.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

May you and your loved ones experience the joy and love of God this Christmas – a love that compelled God to send Jesus from the glories of heaven to be born in a lowly manger, to live faultless amongst ordinary men and women, and finally to lay down his life for our sake on the cross of Calvary.

It is reason indeed to rejoice and praise God. This following video is of Kaylee Rodgers, a 10 year old from Nothern Ireland who has autism and ADHD. She began singing as a way to build her confidence. Together with the Killard House School choir of special needs children, she sings a Christmas worship version of ‘Hallelujah’. Jesus would be pleased.

Lyrics for “Hallelujah Christmas” by Cloverton

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

The Answer


It is strange how this post came about.  I had a few competing ideas for a post but decided I wanted to share a song here.  But then, there were a few new songs that I thought were “share-worthy”.  So how to narrow it down and pick one?

While I was still pondering my choices, I visited some blogs.  A couple of blogs had posts that made me remember a dark period in my life when I went through a life sapping depression or rather it reminded me of how I was able to escape its chains.

First, Beth posted a short quote by Eugene Kennedy about friendship and somehow it was a powerful trigger for memories of a dear friend whose unquestioning, non-judging, accepting, patient friendship was like a lifesaver that kept me from going under.

Then, I read the post by Caralyn, who has a wonderfully powerful and inspiring blog in which she shares about her journey through the “throes of anorexia”.  In this post, she openly answers the questions that many ask her – “How did I break free? How did I embrace recovery when I was so sick.”  Her answer was “It was God”.  She made the choice to begin her journey of recovery and asked God for His help and found that God gave her all  the strength and help she needed for that journey.  Well, that would be my answer too about how I recovered from shattered self worth and depression.

For these reasons, I would like to share with you this beautiful song “The Answer” by Corrine May.  I only recently heard this song.  Its melody is actually that of “Jupiter”by Gustav Holst from his Planets suite which is probably my all time favorite classical piece.  But the lyrics by Corrine May reflects what I have shared in this post and what I hold true to my own heart. (Incidentally, Corrine is from Singapore which is my part of the world – so go buy her music!)

Hope you enjoy it.

I believe You are the answer to every tear I’ve cried
I believe that You are with me,
My rising and my light. 

Give me strength when I am weary
Give me hope when I can’t see
Through the crosses I must carry
Lord, bind my heart to Thee

That when all my days are over
And all my chores are done,
I may see Your risen Glory
Forever where You are.

Et Tu, Beauty?


LGS: I was thinking about a suitable post for this Easter week and pondering what to share when I came across this post at beautybeyondbones.  Her very personal sharing of what Easter means to her says it all.  The squirrel knows when it is right to step aside and let someone else do the talking…… God bless you this Easter as we remember the pain, the sacrifice, the love and the victory of Jesus our Lord.

See what I did there? Et tu, Brute…Et tu, Beauty? *Air-fives self* 😛 OK, so yeah, the title has to do with Caesar…buuut, I kinda feel like it sets the mood for this piece. Because we&#…

Source: Et Tu, Beauty?

Ipoh – Food Glorious Food, Fellowship and Fun


A couple of weeks ago, I was absent for a short while as I went along to my church annual family camp. It was a great time of hearing God’s word, fellowship and ‘fai lo’ ship (local slang for sharing meals together). This year our venue was the town of Ipoh.

Ipoh is the capitol of the state of Perak in Malaysia.  At one time, it was one of the richest cities in the region with scores of multimillionaires and resplendent with mansions on large grounds.  It had grown rich on the back of tin mining.  The city then fell into the backwaters when the price of tin fell catastrophically in the 1970’s.

Today, it is seeing a resurgence due to tourism.  It is surrounded by beautiful limestone hills and caves including some interesting temples built into the limestone caves.

However, we were there primarily to receive spiritual food; teaching from God’s word.  We had invited a Singaporean preacher who encouraged us not to be just pew warmers but to be true disciples of Christ, we had to be, well, disciples; following his example and obedient to his teachings and commands.  Specifically, we were challenged to a) have compassion for others and be relevant in our community; b) have a real and living relationship with God through prayer and reading the bible; c) have a vibrant relationship with one another, helping and encouraging one another in our Christian walk and finally d) to obey Christ is actively sharing His Good News to those around us.  We also looked into the book of Nehemiah and how different people (and not necessary the best qualified people) were assigned to rebuild different sections of Jerusalem’s fallen wall.  The important thing was being willing and working as part of a whole effort.

But a very good secondary reason for going to Ipoh is to enjoy the food because Ipoh has its own well know cuisine. Some of it is shown in the photos above. Use your mouse to hover over the photo and you can read the associated caption.

Some of the famous Ipoh cuisine are said to be due to the qualities of the spring water there that is used in the cooking process.  Hence, the Ipoh Hor Fun noodles is extremely soft and silky – unmatched anywhere else in Malaysia.  Similarly, the Beansprouts chicken is great not just because of the way the chicken is cooked but because the special spring water has made the beansprouts particularly plump, crunchy and juicy.  In the same way, the dessert – sweetened soyabean curd is silky smooth.

There are many more Ipoh food highlights including seafood, popiah (a type of soft springroll), beef noodles, Ipoh’s own white coffee, the pomelo fruit…….. the list goes on and on but it serves us all little good to keep talking about it here.  Internet technology hasn’t reach the stage where you can enjoy the food remotely.  You’ll just have to take my word for it ……or go there yourselves.  But be warned, Ipoh is hazardous to weight loss diets.

Another Century And We Are Still At It


Two ants were sitting on an a mound up on a hill overlooking a battlefield.  From there, they could see men from two armies fighting viciously with guns, tanks and shells.  All over there were dead and dying from both sides.

The first ant said, “This is great!  Let the humans fight their crazy wars and when they have finished killing each other to the last man, then ANTS will rule the world! Bwahahaha!”

“Bwahahaha!” echoed the second ant. “Hooray! Ants will rule the world!”

After a short pause to think, the second ant asked the first ant, “Black ants or Red ants?”

 

And so, this is war.  Don’t know how or when humankind started sacrificing on the altar of war but it doesn’t seem we will stop.

This week in Europe, various ceremonies are being held to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I.   Some 16 million people perished in 5 long years of fighting.  it was the war that marked the start of the industrialization of killing.  It had been called the “war to end all wars”.  Yet just two decades later, the world plunged into World War II and more than 60 million killed.  We were just getting more effective in killing.

800px-Cemetery_of_World_War_I_in_Auce,_Latvia(Photo by Simka)

And so, far from moving towards enlightenment, understanding, fraternity and peace, conflicts continue to plague us since.

Some (from atheist and humanist circles) claim that religion is the main cause of war and certainly there have been many wars fought that use religion to draw the battle lines.   But I believe that mostly that hides other motivations – usually, political, ideological and/or economic ………. and in some cases, just base pack mentality of “us” and “them”.

Just consider some of these non-religious dictators and the damage they inflicted on mankind (estimated killed);

 

I really believe that the root of it all is the desire “to want what others have and to deny others from getting what we have”.

Did you know that back in the 1930’s USA prepared a series of contingency war plans and the first one they came up with was codenamed, “War Plan Red” – the invasion of Canada?!?!?!

It was part of a plan to address the problem of the British Empire being an economic and global rival to America’s aspirations.

Sigh……………..

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ”

Let us pray for the peacemakers where ever they are and in whichever conflict they are trying to bring to an end.  Let’s not let the ants take over and rule the world.

 

The Clouds are Gathering


I had wanted to have a cheery post for you today but the dark clouds  over the world have been creeping into my little corner of life.  Truly, there seems no end to the troubles this year.

Bloodshed, cruelty and conflict in Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Kenya, Somalia and Pakistan.  Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

And what is it with all the plane disasters.   MH370 remains missing and then we had the shock of the loss of MH17 over eastern  Ukraine.  Then, there was the TransAsia ATR 72 crash in Taiwan; the Air Algerie AH 5017 crash in the Sahara and finally a young teenager and his father perish when their plane ditches into the sea on the last leg of their round the world  flight as they raised money for schools in Pakistan.

When we watch all these news on TV or on the internet, we cannot not be affected by the sense of tragedy and suffering.  Generally  though, it is happening to people we don’t know and in a place distant from most of us. Still, there is a degree of separation between us and the event.

However, in the last week, that degree of separation was greatly reduced.

It turns out that the daughter-in-law and grandchild of someone I know perished on flight MH 17.  Another friend’s family was on a different flight but was due to have flown over that same airspace at that time except that it turned back to the terminal after experiencing some technical problems while they were on the runway waiting to take off.  Yet another friend  had been working in the Netherlands and had tried to book a seat on the ill-fated  flight to return to Kuala Lumpur.  He eventually flew the next day on the flight with the same call number.

And then, there was the news from Afghanistan.  Two Finnish aid workers with a Christian charity were killed by gunmen in Herat, Western Afghanistan.  Just last month, we played host to a friend visiting from abroad.  He stayed a few days at our home.  He knew both these women.  They had both served and lived in Afghanistan for a few years.  The organisation has been there since 1966 working to providing eye treatment, mental health treatment, and helping communities.

And so, in this way, some of these recent tragedies became a little more real to me.  My response is to pray for God’s mercy for us all.

There is a Graham Kendrik song that always reminds me the need for such a prayer.  Here are just some of the words of the song;

O Lord, over the nations now
Where is the dove of peace?
Her wings are broken
O Lord, while precious children starve
The tools of war increase, Their bread is stolen

O Lord, dark powers are poised to flood
Our streets with hate and fear
We must awaken!
O Lord, let love reclaim the lives
That sin would sweep away
And let your kingdom come

Have mercy Lord, Forgive us Lord, Restore us Lord, Revive your church again

Let justice flow like rivers and righteousness like a never failing stream.

Happy Place


After sharing with you, dear readers, some of the upsetting things going on in my neck of the woods, a few of you wondered how I could remain positive.   Well, I guess I go to my happy place.

Do you have a happy place to go to when things are bad, the cold wind is blowing and the wolves are at the door?  What is your happy place, I wonder.

When I was a child, my happy place was an isolated cove on a beach where I could play amongst the waves, the sand and the rock pools – far away from other people.  This was a real place but one that I would also visit in my mind when I needed some sunshine in my soul.

That sufficed for me until I was a University student in UK.  Now as all astute readers will know, there isn’t a whole lot of sun and sand in the UK.  Instead, there was a great abundance of cold, damp and wet weather.  Somehow, it suited my melancholic phase and during this, my “blue” period, my happy place was a little fir tree covered lookout point in the Lake District with a wonderful view of the valley and lake below.

When I started work back in Malaysia in nature conservation, my happy place where I could escape the pressures of working life was a very special spot by a pristine river deep in the rainforest.

All these places allowed me to rest in the presence of God the creator and enjoy the wonders of His creation.   They were all my happy places cause I was having one-on-one time with God.

Psalm 33: 8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

On a related note, a posted once  about “My Dream Home”.  I thought I would share that post with you again here,

MY DREAM HOME

I do not think that I am fussy nor demanding. In fact, I am fairly content and easily satisfied. I am not one of those who desires the fastest or most luxurious cars. Where some may pant after a Lamborghini or perhaps a Rolls-Royce, my dream car is nothing more exalted than the Volkswagen Golf Convertible and I am absolutely content with the Honda City that I do drive.

The same applies to houses. Sure, it would be nice to own a mansion or even just a large house but that really isn’t important. Home is where you make it and a small studio apartment can be as happy a home as a big mansion. I do like water though. It would be nice if the house would be near water. I would sit on the porch and just watch the seasons change.

Nevertheless, if any of you kind folk can find a way for me to live at any of these places, I’d be much obliged. Thank you.

A riot of color somewhere in the Laurentians
A riot of color somewhere in the Laurentians, Canada

 

Splendid isolation with the sound of howling winds and lashing rain on an island off Iceland.
Splendid isolation with the sound of howling winds and lashing rain on an island off Iceland.

 

Or tranquility and silence on a Norwegian Fiord
Or tranquility and silence on a Norwegian Fiord