Category Archives: Spirituality
Teaching and enforcing rules are fundamentals of parenting. Read the rest of this entry
Livy Has come to the age where kids display this strange phenomenon. Child psychologists call it the separation anxiety. I beg to differ. This separation anxiety also occurs at the same time whereby babies learn the game of “peek-a-boo”. I believe that somewhere in their brain, they have begun remembering objects and faces, but have not yet developed the cognitive ability of awareness. So when an object is hidden from sight, the baby thinks that it isn’t there anymore. And when the object appears, the baby thinks that it suddenly appeared and the baby is delighted by it. This is very similar to a magician performing an illusion and we get delighted and amused by it.
But when it comes to people, unlike objects, babies have emotional and relational attachments to them. Thus the disappearance of people – when they leave the room – triggers an anxiety and fear. They can’t understand how the person disappeared, where the person went, and if the person will come back. Of course, babies will eventually outgrow this phase as they mature cognitively. But the truth is, even as adults, we still have this sense of anxiety when we don’t see things where they should be.
This is made more obvious in the Christian context. How often have we prayed and wondered if God was listening? If God was really at work? If there even is a God? Sure, we have seen the works of His hands but we have yet to actually see God. The only case of men ever seeing God were recorded in the bible, most of them in the form of Jesus. Other than that, for us in the post-salvation-pre-rapture era, we have to live by faith and not by sight.
But the truth is this. God is here. He is listening. He cares. He is at work. But just like babies, we have not yet fully developed our ability to trust that God is around even though we can’t see Him. I totally understand this as a parent. I would never leave Livy alone by herself. If I have to leave her alone for awhile, I would put her somewhere safe like her playpen. She would kick and cry when I put her there because it’s restricting her freedom and to make matters worse – I leave the room – making it seem like I am abandoning her. I would leave her there to get her milk or whatever, but I was always an hear shot away. I hear her cries and it is unsettling for me, but I had to leave her to get stuff she needed. I know she’s frantically looking for me, afraid, terrified. When I finally return, we has nothing but smiles and joy.
I think much of the Christian life is like that. Sometimes we just need to develop that faith that God is even more at work when we don’t sense Him. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be afraid. I think the fear will always be there on this side of eternity. But it takes faith to overcome fear. Either ways, whether in fear of losing God or in faith that He will come back, the truth is, He will come back. So if we’re not feeling His presence, just learn to enjoy the moment when God does His reappearing act! =D
One thing I’ve noticed about being a parent is how much my taught just loves to be carried. And it’s not just enough that she be hugged and held in close contact but that she be carried high. It’s so strange. I mean, think about it, a 10month old desires to see things and experience things from her parents’ perspective at such a young age. She may not consciously think about it like that but somehow built into her makeup is this feeling of restedness and security when she is lifted up. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve begun to appreciate and understand the bible better lately because of my interest in baking sourdough bread. Sourdough is essentially leaven that uses wild yeast rather than commercial yeast. My sourdough culture has been going strong for a couple of months now. It’s actually quite a precious thing because it can do very amazing stuff to dough. It is the yeast which gives the dough its flavour and “breadness” taste. It is also the yeast which causes bread to be light and airy. This sourdough culture must be fed continuously. With proper feeding, it can be passed down for generations!!
Which brings me to the bible. I’ve always been taught that the Passover was first observed by the Israelites by eating unleavened bread because they had to leave Egypt in haste. I mean, that kinda made sense…. after all, it does take at least 3-6 hours for yeast to properly leaven dough. But logically, it would have made better sense if God commanded them to just leave WITHOUT eating any bread right? I mean, there are other things that are quicker to cook like meat or even grains like barley. Unleavened bread still takes time to bake. You gotta get the oven hot, you gotta knead the dough, you gotta bake it, you gotta cool it down. So really, I don’t think it is right to say that the unlearn bread was to remind the Israelites to that they left Egypt in haste. If that isn’t convincing enough, how about this – God was in perfect control of the timing of everything. So, why did He have to rush His people if He was in control of time and the order of events?
I think the answer lies in the sourdough. See, to a baker, the sourdough is very precious. Imagine if that sourdough culture had been passed down to you from your great great grand parents? And it’s that same sourdough culture that’s also being used by everyone in your family tribe. So when God is saying not to eat unleavened bread, I believe He was telling His people to not use their leaven or even bring it with them to the promised land. It’s the idea of leaving behind a life that was past – the bad and the good. It’s not easy to get a sourdough culture again, and it almost takes a certain kind of faith to start afresh.
Yes, the Feast of the Unleavened bread is about starting afresh. And I believe that’s why we celebrate it. It gives us the reminder that God is with us through new beginnings that He calls us into. After all, this same message is repeated by Jesus that we need new wineskin for new wine. And again He says the old has gone, the new has come. And again in revelations, He says “I have come to make all things new”. God is a god of new beginnings. That’s why we have hope when we trust in Him.
As I read through scripture, I wonder how much of the emphasis on marriage we hear about is accurately true. Most sermons and books talk about how to keep marriages alive, to maintain the spark and romance, how to serve God together, how to be a better husband or wife, how to raise godly children. But as I look to the scripture, marriage isn’t really what it seems. Here are some things I’ve discovered from the scripture.
1. Marriage is for a very brief moment
Jesus says that in heaven we won’t be married. In fact, if you look at the timeline of your life till eternity; you spend at least 1/4 of your life on earth being single, 3/4 being married(if you do get married), and then the rest of ETERNITY being single again! If anything, we should learn firstly to focus on how to live as singles in the light of God’s truth.
2. Marriage is overemphasised
Again to my previous point, a lot of our church activities and life is quite catered to family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-pro-family. I just think there’s this overemphasis that makes it seem like those who aren’t married have a problem that needs fixing. People get issues of insecurity because of this and throwing in a cliche line “all you need is Jesus” doesn’t help if the church doesn’t believe in it either.
3. It is better to REMAIN single
Yes! I said it! Actually, it wasn’t me but Apostle Paul. He himself was single. And He did say that it was better to remain single and serve God. It is true because once you get married, your focus will always be divided. It cannot be helped. My baby cries, I can’t serve or stay in my pew just happily listening to the sermon. It is insanely hard to give undivided attention to God when you’re married. I can’t just drop my responsibilities and go on an extended silent retreat with God. I can’t just take leave and go on a two week mission trip. These things will take extra planing and considerations.
4. Marriage is to serve the purpose of sexual desire
Again, Paul said it, if a man were to burn with sexual desire, it is then better that he marries. In fact, he even goes on to say that couples are to continually engage in sex and only to be apart for a while to pray. It’s as simple as that, if you aren’t married, you can’t consummate. And since we’re on the topic of sex. Sex is like oxygen, when you don’t have it, you feel like you’re dying. But when you have it, you don’t actually think about it that much. Ask the married couples, especially those who have kids.
5. Couples to act like they are single
Again, Paul said that those who are married should be like they were not. He’s not saying to go out and have an affair. What he meant was to live as though you are single and available for God. I know of many couples who have “separation anxiety” where if one doesn’t feel like attending church or serving, the other follows suit. This is what Paul was warning against.
6. Marriage is to reflect God and His church
Your marriage is to be a testimony of God and His church. So when people see the love between a husband and wife, they understand Jesus’ love for His church. That’s why Paul says that it is a command by God, not himself, that nobody should divorce. If you thought marriage was all about you and your spouse only, then you’re wrong. There are greater things and higher purposes at stake.
7. Overemphasis on children
Many say that the purpose of marriage is to have children. Well, that is true but incomplete. Yes, you shouldn’t have children unless you get married, but there are also cases whereby couples are unable to conceive. And then there are cases where orphans are adopted. Marriage allows for children but it is not the end goal or purpose. Putting children as the sole focus of the marriage will inevitably cause the marriage to be dysfunctional.
I have a book that I occasionally take out to read. I don’t particularly like reading it, but I see it as a necessity because it does me good. It’s “Jesus Freaks” by dc Talk. The term “Jesus Freaks” is meant to mean for someone who is crazy for Jesus. Being a Christian in Singapore is extremely safe and comfortable. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous and unhealthy for my soul.
This book “Jesus Freaks” is actually a book of stories of martyrs around the world who have died for the sake of the gospel. It reminds me in the midst of ISIS beheadings that God takes following Him extremely seriously. Read the rest of this entry
There are some things that bug me when I get to church and I’ve very certain I’m not the only one. I understand that we are to give grace, but I also speak the truth openly. Read the rest of this entry
Next year is our nation’s 50th year of independence! It’s such a big deal that babies born next year will even have special birth certificates!! Who knows, maybe they may even turn off ERP for the month of August? Or Issue GST rebate vouchers to all citizens?
But really, what’s this “jubilee” word har? Sounds like chinese for “pig compare strength”! Read the rest of this entry