Friday, April 27, 2007

What is God trying to say?

I had a stressful night last night, 5 people to finish 9 people’s job it just seems like forever. Dishwasher was taking his time, laid back and refuses to wash the cutleries immediately and referring customers to use plastic ones. There was no one on the till, 4 of us including the supervisor and manager, had to serve food for about 600 students. We did it eventually, and cleaned up the whole place at 9pm (we usually finish at 8pm). I was frustrated, utterly disappointed with the terrible management. The only reasons I stayed are because: 1. I feel sorry for the remaining staffs and the customers. 2. I doubted if other company would be better (since I work at a similar workplace before). 3. Since I work here for so long, at least I get back something!!!

My body was aching, my muscles were sore. I went home and took a shower. I was angry at God and everything. What should I do as a Christian? How should I feel as a Christian? Am I supposed to be meek and constantly used by people? Where is justice? How long do I have to wait? If I do not die accidentally or serious disease, I would still have at least 30 years to live on this earth. 30 years! How am I going to endure for 30 years in this fallen world with this dying flesh?

I went to bed, and could not sleep. I know my some people were trying to avoid me because they know I was going to pour out my complaints. But I didn’t, I chose to be quiet. Please do not ask me if you never intend to listen! How should I deal with my anger and frustration? Aren’t Christians supposed to be nice and gentle? I don’t care about my image! I just need a break! Would my friends listen? Even they do, will they understand? How about my parents? From my past experience, they would just tell me to accept the fact and get over it. How about God? Is he listening? I know my suffering is nothing compared to Jesus’s death on the cross, but everything seemed vague and unreal. Does he care?

Then I listen to the radio, hope the music could calm down my angry soul. I turned to one radio station with old hymns. First song I listened is ‘Be Still for the presence of the Lord, He’s moving in this place’. Okay, then a series of beautiful hymns just came through, show me how beautiful Jesus is. Then is my mum’s favourite song ‘Olives That Have Known No Pressure’, my tears just falling and feel amazing sense of comfort. No big scripture words, no shouting voices, just a gentle music whispering God’s beauty overwhelmed me.

This morning I was determined to go to my lecture, however I sacrificed my devotional time to make my lunch and eat breakfast. I went to the bus stop and wait, but the bus never came. The girl sat beside me kindly asked me if I need a ride to Massey from her. Then I went with her. Because of the road works, the car was stucked in the traffic for half an hour, so I was late. It was shocking to find out I was the second student to attend the class, because everyone else was preparing for their semester test. The lecturer decided to re-scheduled the lecture. Well ya, I was kind of wasting my whole morning.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat
- for he grants sleep to those he loves.
~Psalm 127:1~2

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Last Samurai

Finally, I got the chance to watch the movie “The Last Samurai”. Because I missed it when it was newly released, I never get the chance to watch it. Prompted by heart to see the beauty of Mount Taranaki through the film, I rented the DVD. I love the movie. It is one of the few movies that touched my heart and make me think through the scenes again and again. Watching it from a Christian perspective, I believed God reminds me a few things.

Loyalty – the Samurais are extremely loyal to the Emperor of Japan. Indeed, the word “Samurai” means to serve. All their life is fully devoted to protect the emperor, pouring out their lives to serve their king, with no reserve. Regardless the weakness and compromise of the emperor who bowed down to the Western forces, the Samurai leader Katsumoto never give up convincing the emperor to preserve the nation. On the other hand, the Samurais are very humble. They always consider themselves lower than the emperor, no matter what. They are clear about their role, their position, and their destiny. What do we Christians should learn from here?

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Compared to the loyalty of Samurais toward their emperor, are we loyal enough to our God? How is Jesus setting His example for us?

Discipline – Samurai’s great discipline and devotion to their lives had put me to shame.

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Cor 9:25 ~27

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Tim 2:5”

How should we exercise discipline in our lives so that we might please God?

Compassion – Katsumoto had compassion on Nathan, saved His life, even though he killed his son-in-law. Our sin and rebellion has violated God’s holiness, making us the enemy of God, yet He still willing to reconcile with us, and sent His only Son Jesus Christ to pay the costly price.

Are we able to show deep compassion even to people who we don’t like?

Courage/ Fearlessness – The Samurais fearlessly fought the battle, denying themselves, and fully commit themselves till the end, even they know they are going to die. Death is the end of their lives, yet they still fought for it. We have hope in eternal life, and we already have the victory through Christ.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. 1 Tim 1:18~19

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4~5

There is warfare for us to fight, for this world is hostile to us. However, through Christ we are certain that we will defeat the world, so how much more we ought to fight for holding our faith!

Single-minded – Remember in one scene Nathan was defeated because he had “too many minds”, only being single-minded and fully focus, he can defeat his enemy.

“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Tim 2:4”

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1~2

Self sacrificial – The Samurais sacrifice their own lives in order to carry out their duty. In the end, the leader Katsumoto sacrificed his own life in order to show his loyalty to the emperor and won many respects.

Conversion of Nathan – What makes Nathan turned back from the American strong army force to his enemy Samurais? Katsumoto saved his life, and Taka, the widow whom her husband killed by Nathan, not only forgave Nathan, but also treat him well. The love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness have completely transformed Nathan. Similarly, if we realised that our sinfulness deserve punishment from God, yet He still chose to forgive us and have mercy on us. Will we still live our own way, serve our own appetites and the world?

Conversion of the soldiers – in the end when leader Katsumoto died, the soldiers were touched by the acts of the Samurais. Katsumoto’s great integrity and loyalty to the emperor, even willing to die, had won the respect from his enemies. How about Jesus, he died for us on the cross! Even we were foolish and did not understand it. How should we respond to His love? The rejoicing truth is, Jesus is not just a human like Katsumoto who will never live again, but Jesus has risen indeed! We wept for Jesus’s death for our sins, how much more we should rejoice for His resurrection!

There is still a lot more thoughts in my mind, such as the liberation of Nathan from the trauma of his awful deeds in the past. We need to realise how awful our sins and rebellion are in God’s eyes, and by knowing the truth, we will be set free. John 8:31~32

Again I re-evaluate my life, it is nothing compare to the Samurais, so as to Paul. I am glad that I have the hope in Christ. It is so encouraging that my King is the strongest, supreme, and Most High, He is not the weak emperor that the Samurais serve. And I am glad that I do not have to fight the battle by my own, but Jesus has done everything that I am not capable to, and make it possible for me to win the battle. He speaks to me through his Word, teach me and guide me by it. He gave me His Spirit, to help me to understand His word and fight the battle. He even gives me the victory, through His death on the cross, so that I will never suffer in vain. If Katsumoto’s devotion and sacrifice has won many respects, how much should I give my life to Jesus my Lord, Saviour, and King!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Camp 2007 was Awesome!

Easter camp 2007 was finally over. Yes indeed I was stressed out at times because I was in charge of the food department. For the first time I cooked for 70-100 people!!! It was crazy because the people just kept eating eating and eating and finished all the food!!! Anyway, God was faithful to me. He is faithful all the time indeed. From my weaknesses and imperfection God has shown His power. Instead of working and planning by my own might and strength, He brought all people to help me, complement my weaknesses, to accomplish His work. Therefore, I have nothing to boast of, if Christ is not working within me and among His people, everything will be failed badly. So I must praise Him, give thanks to Him, and give all the glory to Him!

Overall, camp was awesome. Again I tasted a little bit of the heaven, had so much fun and joy with my fellow brothers and sisters. Many people who had never heard the gospel before heard it and wanted to know more. They took almost all the Bibles that we can give and even keen to start a new Christian group at their town! Some people who were not Christians in the past Easter camps had grown so much and more Christlike! There is nothing more rejoicing than seeing people walking in the truth! Again I praise God, for His love, mercy and faithfulness upon us! I am completely overwhelmed with joy.

Of course, I get to know the brothers and sisters that I had already knew better. We served together; work together, shared together, and chatted together. They gave me so much encouragement when I was stressed, and helped me selflessly when I need, they did not complain even when the food was yucky!!! O how I wish I can enjoy this forever! Everyone was sad when they realised the camp was over, it was too short. Indeed, we are designed to enjoy God and His people forever. Of course, it was too short! Do not worry, one day we will gather once again, and sing praises to our God hand in hand forever!!!

Oh ya, for those who went to camp and had “In Christ Alone” stucked in their head, can listen to this song from this page. Hehe…