My life is short but it is meaningful and purposeful. How is yours?

Give Thanks

I actually have some ideas to write as of now, but since I’m already sleepy and I need to stick to my promise of doing one post entry every month, I have to pick the shortest one. ๐Ÿ™‚

And here it is. As you may already know, it was a Thanksgiving Day (in the US particularly) on the 4th Thursday of November which was quite recent. I posted a facebook status, saying my thankfulness over the things I felt thankful for, and it got 25 likes up to now (I don’t think it’s increasing anymore though). At least this proves something to me that people like to see good news, or things that looks pleasing in the eyes; and do not like the contrast very much. And my status was pretty much full of happiness and joy, at least at that moment, and a lot of people liked it. When at the other time I posted a status of hardship or “its friends”, not many liked it. I know the amount of “like” will depend on what time you post it on facebook, whether it is at the peak-hour or not. I have tried this with a lot of variety in the timing really, random enough for me and the sample size is big enough as well, and the conclusion is what I just said a few sentences earlier. So let’s just talk a bit about good moments or whatever good things that we are thankful for.

Why do people give thanks? What is the actual reason of being thankful over something? Often times is the lucky feeling like “Oh! Thank goodness! I feel very lucky to bla bla bla!” So let me ask a follow up question: “why then do you feel lucky?” Maybe, we are thankful when we think we don’t deserve the thing we get. Maybe we give thanks when we enjoy our time, like really think that “This is really a good time that I’m having now!” Maybe there some other reasons and I believe there are, butย I hope it is quite clear by now that to feel good or thankful is very subjective to own’s decision.

So why don’t we just enjoy more of our times? Is it that difficult to enjoy your own life? Is life really that though? I would choose always to be happy and to enjoy (if I can choose, or rather, if I’m aware that I’m able to choose) whatever I do or must do however hard it is. No scientific reason really to be not-thankful and grudging every time. Well I can’t give any evidence though right now, but at least I have read before that actually smiling needs less muscle work than frowning, significantly! I can’t remember the figures, but trust me I can give a lot of scientific evidences if I must do so. And it is not good for the mental health. Not good for the people around you also. Perhaps they are the one who actually need your courage. I do mean the last sentence. Sometimes people (including me also since I am just a human being) just think that their problem is the biggest problem on earth. They don’t really listen to others because they think others simply just don’t understand their struggles. On the other hand, I feel that this is, in fact, the biggest problem on earth, i.e. when every human being thinks that his/her problem is the biggest problem on earth!

So, c’mon people. Enjoy your life. Life is, well, sometimes can be bad, but it’s just sometimes. But we do learn from every hardship, don’t we? Your friend or the person next to you right now might be having a more difficult problem after all, but you just don’t know it. Be more thankful over everything. That can only give benefit. Don’t take every blessing we have for granted. Don’t give thanks for the past when you have already missed it. Give thanks now, in present time, for present time!

God loves you,

Cheers,
Anthony

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Cain and Abel

Just yesterday, I had my quiet time and read the bible reading for yesterday’s portion – some of it was about Cain and Abel. It was not the first time I read about the story though. I even already heard that since I was in my sunday school (probably 14 years ago) and have been reading and listening to the same story again and again in different occasions for the next 14 years. But yesterday was different. It was just different. Maybe because the ‘guide book’ for the daily bible reading connects Genesis 4-5 with Hebrews 11:4-5. Genesis 5 and Hebrews 11:5 talk about Enoch but I am not going to discuss about that now.

Let me digress a bit first before I move on. From my observation, there are a lot of comparisons in Christian’s bible. Simply said, it is comparing the good and the evil. Quick examples: Cain and Abel (more on this later), Pharisees who were prideful of themselves and tax collector who acknowledged that he was a sinner, and even before Jesus’ death there was one criminal who blasphemed Him while the other criminal rebuked the one who blasphemed and pleaded to Jesus as you can see in Luke 23:39-43. And yeah, God is holy and righteous, whereas the devil is the opposite – wicked and deceitful. These two powers coexist now on earth. When there is no God’s holiness, Satan reigns there. But if God’s presence is there, surely Satan cannot withstand it. It is like the analogy when the light comes, the darkness is gone. And indeed, there is some kind of war happening now on earth which Paul has described in Ephesians 6:10-20.

Okay, let’s come back and now is time to tell the story. I’ll just re-type everything from the bible to avoid my own interpretation and bias towards the text.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my borther’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground …” (after this God was mentioning about the punishment that Cain had to bear)

That was Genesis 4:1-10 and I would like to focus just on Cain’s sins (some are already emboldened above for easier reference). First was probably envy. Why did he become angry? Maybe he compared himself with his brother and he was not happy to see Abel being ‘more successful’ than him. Maybe at the first place he didn’t give the best sacrifice he could give while Abel did, so didn’t deserve God’s praise/respect. Yeah, he just couldn’t accept the fact of life that at that time Abel was better. Second, he didn’t heed God’s warning about sin and to rule over it which eventually led him to the third sin which is killing Abel. Still not enough of sinning, when the LORD came to ask him, he lied to the LORD – which is considered as the fourth sin in this article. We can see clearly from this example that the effect of sin is chain-effect/domino-effect. One sin leads to another sin. Beware of that!

Enough of the story and exposition, I would like you to reflect upon yourself these 5 questions below. Give some thoughts to them and ponder over them. Be transparent before God since we can hide nothing from Him anyway.

1. Do you give your ‘firstborn of your flock’ to God?
2. Do you envy others?
3. When God warns you, what is your respond?
4. After committing sin, do you cover that with another sin or ask for forgiveness?
5. Would you rather be Abel or Cain?

To end this, I would like to quote Hebrews 11:4. “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”

I hope this article will become a blessing for you and I do hope you can bless others.

Have a blessed life!

Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

*This post can also be read here:ย http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150385427158609

Movie Review: 3 Idiots

Alright, so 2 days ago I watched this movie 3 Idiots, alone in my room, on my laptop. I initially thought the movie is in English, after a few minutes I figured out though, that 95% of the conversations are in Hindi. Then I looked for an English subtitle and started watching it. The movie is approximately 160 minutes but, really, I didn’t feel that the movie was too long though. It’s enjoyable.

3 idiots

If you haven’t watched it, please watch it for your own good. It is actually better, in my opinion, to just watch the movie without looking at its synopsis first – just as what I did 2 days ago. So, I would recommend you to stop reading this post first before you watch it. But if you want to continue reading, well, that’s fine.

Generally, the movie is about a genius daring inspirational guy who went to a college of engineering in India. He challenged almost everything he saw/heard, one of those was the education system at the college. He felt that the college was not functioning as it should be. The system was wrong, he claimed. And of course, the principal of the college hated him. However though, he had two loyal friends who travelled together with him in most of his adventures. The movie showcases some fascinating scientific experiments. It also demonstrates a strong bond of friendship. It is a comedy movie, so you will laugh at times when you watch it, but it is also strongly emotional that can make you want to cry, cry of happiness. Really, for me, 160 mins of watching this movie didn’t feel that long.

Some ‘lessons’ that I take from this movie:
1. Value your friends. They are actually your treasures here on earth. Money can’t buy you love, as people say, money can’t buy you true friends as well. Be a good friend to others. Even if you’re a successful person, if you don’t have friends to share your joy with, life would be very plain, meaningless. But even in your darkest time, if you have friends around you, true friends, you can still smile and stand up facing the storm.

2. ย Don’t always follow majority. Yes it’s true that sometimes it looks stupid to act against the majority, but that exactly is the thing that this world needs right now! How do you know if the majority is right? How do you improve the system if you never do something that is not commonly done? How do you want to change the world if you don’t dare to act?

3. Don’t study merely for your grades. What is a grade after all? It is just A, B, C letters written on your transcript. What more important is the knowledge/skills you possess. Go study your stuffs to gain knowledge. Do your homeworks to sharpen your skills. Don’t study because you’re afraid to fail your module. Study because you like it. Don’t aim for success, pursue excellence and success will automatically follow you.

4. Do things you are passionate for. Why do you go to engineering school if your passion is in photography? Because your dad says you must do engineering? That’s stupid. Don’t do things because you are forced to do it. That way, it won’t be efficient and the result surely won’t be good. In other words, it is okay for you to have your passion different from others. Humans are unique. Every single one is God’s own masterpiece. That’s a fact.

That’s all I can share as of now. Basically I’m just sharing my values which are captured in this awesome 3 Idiots movie. Have fun watching it if you haven’t. See you again some other time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi there,

I am writing this after my third day of my school. School just started last Thursday, so yeah, today was only the third day. Something great happened today when I just wake up: I couldn’t speak! My voice was just gone. Well, I exaggerated a bit, I could actually speak but it was difficult and the voice was actually weird. It’s like I got phlegm inside my throat there that somehow blocked the vibration of my voice or whatever. The right hole of my nose is also not functioning! Isn’t that cool? So I’ve been breathing with only the left side of my nose this whole day! At this kind of situation whereby it was very difficult for me to speak, it came into my mind that I should write something! Hahaha. So here I am in front of my laptop.

Okay, so, from my own opinion, academic wise, I did not do very well last semester and I want to improve this semester. So that’s the new expectation. I will also be teaching one module in NUS (not as the lecturer! haha. actually only helping out as a lab teaching assistant). My actual reason to do this teaching thing is not really because of the money, but more towards because I want the students to get good teaching and in a way I want to train myself to be able to teach and help people. But somehow, when I talked about this to people, the first thing they talked about is the money. I don’t really think, personally, that the pay is that high — you can teach tuition outside and get a higher pay. Anyway, it seems that money is indeed a very important element in our lives that we can’t live without. And people will be happier if they have more money! (at least it’s what I think people think)

Back to academic expectation, I do really hope that I can be a good student this semester. Let me explain what my ‘good student’ means:
1. I will try to come to all classes, regardless of the weather, mood, etc.
2. I will try to do all tutorial problems, well at least have an attempt to do each problem will be good enough. (this did not happen very often in the past)
3. I will make sure that I am on the same track as the lecturer in every lecture. This might need me to revise my lecture notes if it is needed.
4. I will do all the assignments given to me. (i.e. group projects, homeworks, essays, readings)

Basically the idea behind this is to give my best. And that was inspired during a chat with a friend. She reminded me that we as Christians ought to do our best in every single thing (or task) we have, as if doing it for God. That really encouraged me since sometimes I was too logical (I would try to use the minimum amount of energy to get the maximum result (read: grade)). This way, however, resulted in a lot of bad things, e.g. underestimating the content of the lesson, overestimating myself, not taking into account if disruptive unexpected events happen, procrastinating at times, and maybe some other which I couldn’t think of now. So yeah, let’s just try to give my best this semester and I believe God will adjust the result accordingly. ๐Ÿ™‚

Besides, now I am also living in the Tembusu College at the NUS newly opened University Town, well thank God for that, and I have been seeing a lot of new people everywhere (especially at the dining hall) and I do hope to know them one by one slowly. Making new friends is good. But sometimes I do think that too many friends occasionally is a bit troublesome as well: if one have more friends which means more hours of interactions needed to keep the relation up with them, he/she still ‘only’ have 24 hours per day to live. So yeah, I guess this is a new challenge by itself already, i.e. to decide on whom shall I spend my time with, when to meet the crowd when to have a solitary time, when to meet new friends when to meet old friends, when to meet people when to study, when to be engaged in a face to face interaction when to communicate just using facebook-chat-skype-sms, etc.

After all, maybe I have thought too much which maybe is true and in fact I also agree that I think too much (sometimes). I better take every single day one by one and finish my daily tasks day by day. I believe God will still guide me along and protect me. Even though now I am physically weak, I will recover! God’s power is made perfect in humans’ weaknesses, am I right?

Have a new hope people and remain strong! ๐Ÿ™‚

Blessings and Miracles!

Finally I got some time again to write things up. I always wanted to write about a lot of things, the ideas just keep popping out on every random occasion (e.g. on the bus, at the bus stop, in the toilet, while walking, etc) and I just couldn’t capture them all. So what happened recently is this: I am still under my internship – interesting internship, sometimes boring, sometimes fun, but I think the best part of it is that I can get to know more people and have more friends! Then in the past one week there was this PINUS Orientation, I attended only the night games and the KuliNight (Finale Night) and got to meet some freshmen also. Oh how I love the atmosphere of the orientation! Everyone met new friends here and there, they yelled for cheers together, they perform good performances, they played games together, what a wonderful world! haha… Now then, those moments have gone and I am in my room writing this up…

God has been very kind to me if I think about it. Even though bad things and bad lucks do happen in my life, that’s fine. I got better lucks and felt miracles of God! Let me share some with you:

First, just now after came back from workplace, I alighted at the bus stop in front of Anchor Point, suddenly someone shouted “KP!” and guess what, she was my High School friend! She is here in Singapore until the end of this week on holiday with her big families! She was waiting for a bus and then we went into some chit chat and that was a good 10-15 minutes talking with an old friend I suppose. ๐Ÿ™‚

Second, yesterday I almost came late to work. I took a half day leave (because need to move out stuffs from my old hostel to new hostel) so I was supposed to arrive at workplace by 1:30 PM. In short, if the 2 buses that I should take (I need to exchange bus) did not come immediately, I would be late, however they came just in time and I was not late. There is no real punishment if I came late though, it’s just that I am happy I didn’t come late! haha.

Third, I thank God for all the good friends I have around me and for the time we’ve spent together! They are just great. I do know every one of them has their own set of weaknesses, so what? I also have my set of weaknesses and I think friendship is meant to build one another up and I personally am blessed by the presence of all my friends. They built me up! I hope that I did the same to them also..

Fourth, so many more small yet critical things happened the last few weeks and I do believe in His holy intervention in all those!

And right now I am reading this book “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and it is also mentioned there that to live (in this world) to the fullest is to live in the cross and to enjoy Him abundantly. I think I got a glimpse already on how to enjoy Him abundantly. But that’s not enough I believe. I want to exult in Him and enjoy Him more day by day!

Anyway, school is starting in 16 days time, so I must get myself pumped and ready! Yeah! ๐Ÿ™‚

I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him as a guitarist during EARC’s Communion Service (reference for EARC: http://www.vcfnus.org/events/east-asia-regional-conference-2011)ย on 29th of May 2011. It was a good atmosphere we had there. The most important thing I got from this service for me is this song: Behold The Lamb. I really like this song and almost played this song everyday since then. For me, the words in this song are very meaningful, and if I may, I would say that these lyrics are the essence and basic foundation in Christianity. There are 4 verses in the song and here they are:

Verse 1

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us: and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.

So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

Verse 2

The body of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Torn for you: eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life,
Paid the price to make us one.

So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

Verse 3

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you: drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.

So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

Verse 4

And so with thankfulness and faith
We rise to respond: and to remember.
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.

As we share in His suffering,
We proclaim: Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.

Some points of highlight of this song from me:

  • There is always this word “remember” in every verse (in the second line). I found that this “remember” is very important since as a Christian I often forget Christ in living my life. Singing this song everyday (whether outspoken or not) really helps me to remember God everyday.
  • There is always this sentence “around the table of the King” in every chorus of any verse. For me this shows that our God is so close to us, and indeed that is true. We live in this world by His grace. It’s like we are ‘enjoying’ the bread and the wine together with all believers and together with Himself as well as our Host. How beautiful that is and how grateful we should be!
  • I really like the last verse. We are here on earth as His body, to be witnesses of His love to the world. And as a body we ought to work together and obey only to One Head who is God Himself. And we believe that Christ who came to earth about 2000 years ago will come again sometime in the future! That is His promise and He won’t break His promise. This is the ultimate hope for us, Christians: to meet God in heaven and praise Him forever. When He comes again, He will defeat the evil and we shall look forward to that day, shan’t we?

If you’re not a Christian and you’re reading this even up to this word, well, you might feel a bit confused or you might not like this post. But yeah, this is what I believe Christianity is. Quite confusing and dazzling and complex indeed. Living God who came to this world. Sacrificed and crucified. Risen from death. Risen to heaven. Will come again sometime in the future (i.e. judgment day). And This God, as was written in the book of John chapter 14 verse 6, once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Anyway, below is one video I found in youtube. You can watch in youtube if the quality is not so nice here. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

โ€œChristianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.โ€ โ€“ C.S. Lewis

 

 

Today is the last day of May and it’s my deadline to write an entry already! >.<

Let me recall what happened in the last few weeks. Today was the 11th day of my internship. My holiday officially started on 7th of May but since then I always had something to do each day. 7th of May, I spent whole day for NUS ISCF AGM. 8th of May as usual, went to church and talked a lot with friends regarding the future of ISCF. 9-13 May was in ISCF Camp. 14 May, got another NUS ISCF AGM (they called it Extraordinary General Meeting or EOGM) because ISCF’s president was not determined yet by that time, after EOGM went to church for Youth Fellowship! ๐Ÿ™‚ 15 May, went to church and spent time talking to friends. 16 May, started my internship, then in the evening watched Fast n Furious! 17 May, got church outing in the morning and bible study in the late afternoon, spent time talking to friends in the evening. 18 May-20 May, went to work as usual. 20 May after work, went to NTU to attend their (NTU ISCF’s) ETG (Exam Thanksgiving), a sweet fellowship it was, then I slept over there in my friend’s (Vincent’s) room. 21 May, this day was dedicated for NTU ISCF’s AGM. ๐Ÿ˜€ 23-27 May, did internship as usual and mostly ate dinner talking to friends, also went to my church’s prayer meeting on Friday night. 28 May, volunteering for EARC as an area master at Ngee Ann City. It was a new experience, met some new friends as well from all over Asia! 29 May, went to my church and went to Saint John’s Saint Margaret’s church to play guitar in EARC’s communion service. ย 30-31 May, worked as usual, but now I am in different team from before.

3 weeks back, my friend (Edward) told me that a music school (Asia Music School) in Yishun needs a guitar teacher, the pay is quite good, and the probability of me getting accepted there is quite high, according to what he says. I could apply there as a part-timer on Saturdays and maybe Sundays if I want. But I held my decision to apply first because I wanted to see if I would be very busy already or not. Now then I don’t feel like applying into that position anymore because as can be seen from my short history, my Saturdays were always occupied. This coming Saturday I am asked to give some basic guitar strumming lesson in GENUS and probably I will stay over at my friend’s house. And by the way, this Sunday I will be playing guitar in my church as well. For the next Saturday, my ย Tembusu Orientation committee already booked my day for a dry run for the amazing race during the orientation later. Oh yeah packed schedule but I believe everything is going to be alright! ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from that I have made commitment to read one Christian book during this holiday and now is already 30% of my holiday gone and I haven’t really started reading a book. I hope I can start reading a book soon, maybe I will begin with Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper first. See if I can finish that in a month or maybe less, then I will probably read another book.

At this stage in life, all these conditions make me think of what I actually look for in life. Why at the first place I decided to do internship and not just went back to Indonesia to enjoy holiday, meet family and friends? Why I was bothered to go to NTU ISCF’s AGM? Why I was interested in giving guitar tuition? Why I often spent times to talk with friends over dinner time (and sometimes after dinner also)? Why am I writing this particular entry in my blog? Here are some answers which I can think of: I do internship to expose myself into a new environment, to meet more people, and to get a nicer transcript as well. I went to NTU for their AGM because I cared for students ministries in campuses, since I am currently still a student also. I wanted to teach guitar at that music school mainly because of the money incentive; it’s always good to have extra pocket money right? And, again cliche, of course because I want to have a new experience in life: teaching guitar in Singapore. Next is, well, I talked to people because I believe I cared for them but who knows deep inside I do so because I just don’t like to be alone? I am writing this blog because somehow I just feel that I have to share this. I believe at this stage of life a lot of youths are having the same struggles as mine and it’s always good to share things around right?

Let’s just end this post, it’s already late night now and I still have to wake up early tomorrow to go to work again. Honestly, I am not so sure how to answer the question in the title of this post. I don’t even know which area of industry that I am interested to work on after I am graduated. Well, yeah, it is known that generally people look for wealth, health, and fame in life. But I am not really looking for those things actually (cognitively). However, in daily life, maybe I look for those things (practically). To close down, as what the bible says in Matthew 26:41, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” So true is this statement in my opinion. I pray that God will strengthen me, but not only me (all others who are having the same struggles also), to be able to be strong in spirit and do not listen to the flesh very often.