One fine day as you are walking along the street, you see two stray dogs fighting. Law of nature tells you that, if animals fight, the dominant will win, even if apparently it only lasted for several screams/barks/gnarls or even bites. The question - How do you know which one is dominant?
1. The dominant one seldom makes audible noise. 2. The assaulted barks more. 3. The dominant one trots away with its tail raised. 4. The assaulted runs away with its tail covering its private, and with its head lowered a bit. 5. The dominant will have company (if there is a pack of more than 2 dogs). 6. The assaulted, after left alone, turns back and continues to bark cowardly at the dominant one (as if it is not "satisfied" with the outcome of the argument - the sour grape reaction).
I observed all the above whilst playing basketball yesterday evening, and there were 3 strays right in the middle of the courts causing much commotion - from the losing dog, of course. :-)
I received this from my nephew Pete. Another forwarded email it seems, but since the subject of the email quoting a Scripture verse attracted me. I read on, and at the end of the passage I nearly wept. It is awesome to know that God is always watching us purified and never abandoning and leaving us alone to destruction, and looking forward to seeing His own image in us. ________________________________________
Subject: Malachi 3:3
Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
Pass this on right now. This very moment, someone needs to know that God is watching over them. And, whatever they're going through, they'll be a better person in the end.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path. - Proverbs 3:6
How would I feel - or rather - how had I felt when I found out that I lost one hour of sleep? Weary and sleepy. I experienced that in one fine spring Sunday morning when I was in Folsom, CA. The date was March 11, 2007 - the day the daylight-saving (DST) time began across US. I was like - c'mon, I slept at 1am and woke up at 7am (for Sunday Mass), but practically I slept for 5 hours only. Duh...
Today, I kinda experienced the similar feeling from a totally different incidences. Yes, I was back in Malaysia, and being an all-time-summer tropical rainforest country, and our time zone in Peninsular is approximately one hour ahead of our local time, it is as good as DST all the time. So, it is IMPOSSIBLE to lose one hour due to DST. Nevertheless, I experienced and noticed that:
- I woke up at 7:50am, almost exactly one hour later than my normal waking-up time @ 7am. - My housemate left for work at 8:10am. He normally left at 7:15am. - My supervisor reached office at 8:50am, almost the same time as me. He normally reached on time at 8am. - Another colleague reached at 8:50am (no idea what time he reached normally).
Strange... Not really. For my case, I was deprived of quality sleep for many days. The others - no idea. :-P
Last Friday, I drove a fully-loaded car of 4 people to Sitiawan to attend our colleague's wedding dinner in Sitiawan. Dinner was at 7pm 'sharp' (I inverted-commaed the word - Malaysian Chinese should understand why it is so). So, we gotta leave office at 4pm in order to avoid the jam on the Penang Bridge. And, tell you what, we left at 4pm sharp (note: no inverted-commas), and yet when we reached the northbound bottleneck to the bridge at 4:10pm, it was already jammed. Sigh...
Taking a detour (using southbound bridge entry instead) and having filled my car with the RM2.70/liter gas, we finally left Penang Island at 4:30pm. I was a bit excited over the journey, because I NEVER traveled from Penang to Sitiawan before. [Ya lah ya lah... I traveled from Penang to Ipoh 100++ times, and I traveled from Ipoh to Sitiawan 10++ times, but never straight from Penang to Sitiawan lar... :-P]
The journey was interesting... I got this map above from the bride herself. Quite informative, but I would prefer a backup map, so here you are, Google map!! See below - click on it to enlarge it.
Half of the journey was on the blood-sucking PLUS highway - a journey far too familiar to me. After taking the Changkat Jering exit at 5:25pm, I ventured into a totally brand-new route. It was a two-lane slightly-widened trunk road which crosses Pantai Remis and Segari, not mentioning 3 long bridges across Sungei Dinding (one of them is 1-km long!!). Sorry folks (my car passengers), it is not Sungei Perak... Haha... I was speeding like crazy. PLUS highway limited me to 110kph, so 110kph I went. The trunk road got speed limit but no speed trap, so 120kph I went! Haha!!
No photos. Of course lar... siao ah? I was driving you know? Passengers cannot take ka? Cannot! Camera in my car boot... and I just enjoyed speeding on the empty trunk road. Hahaha!!! Too bad my car suspension was not as good as AE86, or else I'd do the Takumi stunt!!
I reached Sitiawan at 6:29pm. :-)
The dinner ended at 10:20pm. After lingering around, I left Sitiawan at 10:30pm. Another group of friends (in another car) wanted to go to Ipoh for an overnight stay and Ipoh food the next day. So, I led that gang to Ipoh. Using the Ipoh-Lumut highway, I soared again for 120kph, with the other car trailing some 300-400 meters away. Man... The highway used to be a 2-lane trunk road, and it used to take 1.5 hours between Sitiawan and Menglembu. But now, the 2-lane trunk road was upgraded to 4-lane highway. That's why I sped like mad - it only took me 40 minutes to reach Menglembu.
The funny incident during this journey was that, because of the 300-400 meter distance, I tend to shoot past a green light, and right after that, the light turned yellow, forcing the tailing car behind to stop for a minute. At that moment, I would slow down my car till the light turned green again, so that my friend behind was able to catch up with me before I sped again. That happened at least 3 times - from the 2nd time onwards, all the passengers in my car (include myself) would laugh!! Why? Because we kinda expected that my friend behind us would flash high-beam to us!!
Yesterday I was back in Ipoh (don't ask me why... that's not the topic here). At around dinner time, there were two Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) a.k.a. Mormon church missionaries from US came 'evangelizing' around the neighborhood. One of them, something Kwok (I'm bad at names), in the normal Mormon long-sleeved white shirt and tie, came knocking. I approached him, of course without allowing him in, and he started asking whether my family members were Christian. And I answered yes. He asked which church I was from. "St Michael's Church in Ipoh and Holy Spirit Church in Penang" was my reply. From my response, he acknowledged that I am a Catholic.
And yes, having a Mormon missionary at my door, I kinda expected that he would begin his 'evangelization' some time soon. So, without wasting time, I invited him to begin by asking him, "What are you doing here?" There, he began to explain that the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus was lost since the death of the last Apostle, until their 'prophet' Joseph Smith 'received revelation and from God' that he would receive the fullness of Gospel 'truth' in year 1820. (Let's do simple maths - that's 17 centuries of 'apparent darkness' according to LDS.) With that 'truth' he founded LDS Church, and later he was identified as a prophet who restored the 'truth', a prophet same as Moses and Elijah.
Next, his question was how I would feel when God answered my prayers. Thereafter, he pushed to me his tract and made me promise to read it and pray to God would answer my prayer that the 'truth' is revealed in the tract. What the...
Well, my arguments were but only two:
1. If both of us believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are the Body of Christ - why keep on pressing? My post reflection says otherwise - I doubt if they care, hence I do doubt their belonging to the Body of Christ.
2. I pointed to him Matthew 28:20, in order to refute his argument that the Gospel was lost for 1700 years. Jesus said that He will be will us till the end of age. Mormons teach that the Gospel was lost for 17 centuries. A big conflict - a big one which I am not even at all convinced at the Mormons' claim. If the Holy Scripture, or rather, the synaptic Gospel according to Matthew is True, then the Mormons are flawed. Well, I now know that, to LDS Church, the Book of Mormons are more authoritative compared to Holy Scriptures. Too bad for them...
I nearly wanted to bring up the fact that the Gospel was alive all the while through the teachings of the Church Fathers, but I did not think they would buy into it. So, I saved my breath.
In the meantime, I was a bit bugged by a more pressing issue. So, I attempted to shoo him away by returning his tract. He refused to take it back - rather, he reiterated his little demand. Well, I would not have problem promising him to finish reading it. I would not even have problem praying about it. My main concern was to pray to God to help me strengthen my hard earned faith. :-)
Nevertheless, I did feel better with me having that tract. Now the missionary has one less tract to mislead people. :-)
To learn more about the LDS Church, click here. Mind you, I do not approve of the teachings of Mormons - c'mon, it's evident if you click the link - it's sourced by Catholic Encyclopedia! :-)
SWYF organized adults vs kids friendly futsal game last Sunday (June 8), from 1pm to 3pm. It was a continuous game with 1-minute timeout at 5-minute gameplay interval. Sounds tiring huh - almost non-stop game for 2 hours. But wait! There were like 20 to 30 players in the field. So, the game was not that tiring after all - unless we chase for the ball all the time, we hardly get to possess the ball!
I missed the first hour of the game. My old junk (my 'beloved' car la) gave me another hole-burning problem the night before - my alternator mal-functioned, draining all my battery power. So, that afternoon A and I were busy looking for a mechanic that opens on Sundays. I was thinking of walking the futsal game over because of my frustration on the car issue. And so, I did not have any suitable sports attire with me. Anyways, thank God we found one mechanic, who was willing to re-charge my battery for 2 hours free of charge. So, we leveraged the 2-hour waiting time by slipping into the futsal court.
The game was fun!! All the while I was exposed to rude and hostile futsal games, which led to much frustration and sour faces. That afternoon, I truly experienced a true friendly match. I only played for like half and hour, wearing a pair of jeans and long-sleeved shirt, and yet I enjoyed the game very much. A win or lose did not seem matter to each of us. Rather, what we enjoyed was the brotherhood (or sisterhood for those lady players out there), teamwork, and sportsmanship amongst us! Well, of course I didn't feel winning or losing mattered - the adults lost the game anyway.
A side note: Little Geronimo suffered the most. Being one of the shortest and youngest player, he almost get whacked all the time - whacked by taller players and the ball. Well, being in a closely-knit SWYF family, it was definitely NOT an assault - how could any one of us bully a 8yo kid?? :-)
P.S. The alternator burnt a RM410 worth of hole in my pocket, hours before I began my spending spree in Singapore!! Ouch!!!
Today (rather, yesterday, since it is now past midnight) I had a lot of fun playing basketball with A, Davis family, JRoldan, Ling, B, Kev, Bobo and Dell guy. It was the first time I truly learn and practise how to play basketball. Surprised huh - a 30 year-old learning basketball. Well, frankly, I played when I was in Form 1, but I didn't really play as a team (rather, I was merely playing around with the ball). I sucked big time then. I stopped attempting to play, and here I was, a noob in basketball.
In the beginning A invited me to play 3-on-3. But after one game, I was like going to die from being out of breath. Of course la... with the fact that I did not work-out for 2 weeks, and my stamina was low, how could I tahan running 10 minutes non-stop?? So, after a game, A taught me the proper shooting method. First he taught me how to use one hand to aim and shoot from the inner free throw arc, and then he taught me how to use the additional aiming hand together with the dominant hand for better shooting method on the free throw line. I occupied the next court and practised alone. It was fun! I never had imagined that I scored so many times from the free throw line before. With the right techniques, I'd made it! Anyways, the price of playing and practising for 2 hours - blisters on both feet. Need more practices to thicken my skin!
I will join them again next week for another game. Sad thing is, Ling is returning to Melbourne this coming Saturday morning. So, we shall play again in September!! _____________________________
After the game, we went to TGIF Queensbay Mall for free-flow drinks and dinner! The portions were indeed much smaller compared to 1.5 years ago when they first opened in Penang. Anyways, it was a hearty meal and we had much fun fellowshiping! The Davis kids were funny as they posed with their Batman and Spider-Man suits sweaters. See below:
B was funnier. He was craving for his fresh lemon served together with his bottomless iced lemon tea. And there I caught this poser with his lemon!
In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all— Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev'ry sin on Him was laid— Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin's curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine— Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death— This is the pow'r of Christ in me; From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
One full tank would normally last me for a week, and I used to pay an average of RM70 per week for my full-tank of petrol. With 40.6 percent increase of Octane 97 petrol price, things are much more different and difficult now. Last Saturday (June 7) marked one of my first ever experience - paying RM100 in a single payment for a full-tank of Octane 97 petrol. RM100!!! My gosh! I'm gonna spend RM400++ a month!
Well, I'm not the only one suffering. Frequent bus travelers are equally suffering. Bus ticket prices have been immediately increased since the diesel price hike on June 5. As I was traveling back to Penang from Singapore yesterday, I got to observe the bus being filled full-tank with diesel. Guess how long it took? 15 minutes. And how much does it cost? See below. Shockingly unbelievable!!!
I HATE it when people's voices are not heeded. Period.
I left office at 9:29pm. I was planning to go to church to meet Ling, but because I know there were traffic jams all over, I gave up and headed back home. And, because of the stupid jam of people hogging around gas stations, I reached home at 10:08am. I couldn’t even connect to the Internet. I only got GPRS connection which was damn slow. So, I wrote this in my phone… and still not yet finished…
An uneasy balance begun Setting on the price of depleting energy Harnessed for convenience sake But played and tossed around by many Year by year the price soared And people are paying more and more
And there came the crazy goliath Wanting to soar even higher And thus a word was spoken Waging gas by three quarter The sheep and dwarfs gagged in disbelief Left with frustration no one can relief
And hence all hell break loose As panicked sheep dashed out with their carts Gas price is gonna inflate soon There is no time to waste or lamenting buts Better get a good deal of goods Before the inflated price stay for good
In no time roads were blocked As all vendors were heavily flocked Even the cops were summoned…
…I DOZED OFF… :-P
Woke up by a SMS at 12:08am. At that time, I realized it’s over… :-(
Well, what to do? The next day mah go buy petrol at RM 2.70 lor!
By the way, I think I should just leave my poem unfinished just like that. As a sign of frustration and silent protest towards the petrol price hike!!!
DISCLAIMER: For those of you who has not watched but really want to watch the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, I advise you not to read this article until you have watched it, because this article may contain many SPOILERS.
Last Friday, I did not go to SWYF meeting because I was attending my company's departmental outing, and after the buffet dinner, I was dead tired and went back to sleep. That night, A conducted the sharing, and followed by what B called - the "fifth wave" (read the first 3 waves here, and the 4th here). I missed all these, but regained part of it on Saturday, the day I watched Narnia.
A's sharing was focused on the scripture verse 2 Chronicles 7:14, which sounded like this: "[Yahweh said to Solomon] If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." This, according to A, shall be our response to God's past anointing in SWYF - that we shall be humble, pray to Him, seek God's face, and repent. With that, we shall inherit the promise of God.
I watched Narnia the next day - it was a good movie. I could see that Lucy Pevensie was earnestly and humbly searching for Aslan and seek help and refuge in him - and that is why Aslan appeared only to her and not the rest, not even her own elder siblings. This is how God would appear to us - that if we earnestly search for Him, He is always there. As famously preached by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7)
Later that night, I met with Ling who has just returned from Melbourne, together with A and B. There A told me of 2 Chronicles 7:14 that he shared. When he was finished, I said, hey, I skipped Shalom meeting and yet the next day I was getting the same message from God through Narnia!! Praise God!
In the beginning of the movie, Lucy was able to see Aslan, but not the rest. Lucy was humble and earnest to seek Aslan's face again, and that is why Aslan appeared only to her. What about the rest? Lucy pointed out a possibility to Peter, saying that maybe Peter did not really want to seek Aslan. Also, Lucy always hoped and prayed that Aslan would be with them. She even dreamt of Aslan!! How could we be as humble, prayerful, and earnest in seeking the face of God?
And at last - repentence, or turning away from wicked ways. Nikabrik misled Prince Caspian by saying that the Kings and Queens of old Narnia failed him, and then tempted him to call upon the evil power of the old - the White Witch! Caspian, and much later, Peter himself, nearly fell flat into this big temptation which would destroy not only Miraz, but also entrap Narnia once again. Edmund, having fallen to the White Witch's temptation in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and yet redeemed by Aslan, did not fall back to temptation, but turned away from the wicked. He stabbed at the White Witch trapped behind the ice wall and drove her back to underworld. How much courage will we humans have to avoid temptation and destroy evil for the sake of our love to God?
And, at last, Lucy rode all by herself, to seek Aslan's help. Her faith in Aslan was the only thing that she had. At last, Aslan appeared. By his roar, the powers of nature (trees and water) were summoned, and at last, evil was conquered. Peace in the land of Narnia was restored. Harmony between Narnians and Telmarines were developed. All because of Lucy's little faith in Aslan. How much do we rely on God - that if we are humble, pray, seek His face, and repent, God will hear us, and with the roar of the Lion of Judah, our sins forgiven, our land restored, our life be in peace and harmony?
God is good, before we even know Him. Now it is our response to his goodness and love.
Wiki source is here. My review is here. Movie database is here.
Willian Moseley Anna Popplewell Skandar Keynes Georgie Henley
These names might not be familiar with you, but when we were talking about the Pevensies, they are the actors and actresses that play the Pevensies siblings - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy respectively. Yes, the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve were back! The second movie installation of Narnia is out.
The story began as it ended in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, where the Pevensies were back from Narnia to the real world. One Earth-year has passed, but that is equivalent to 1,300 Narnian years. In Narnia, the creatures were almost extinct, and the Telmarines, led by the legendary King Caspian I, has conquered Narnia. Now, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), uncle of Prince Caspian X (Ben Barnes), was the de facto monarch, and was blessed with a newborn baby boy. Since Miraz had his own heir, he was all out kill his own nephew and usurp his throne. With the help of Doctor Cornelius the tutor (Vincent Grass), Prince Caspian had to flee for his life, away from his throne which he rightfully owned. During the pursuit, he blew Queen Susan's horn, summoning the Kings and Queens of old - the Pevensies. magically transported from Earth to Narnia in a train station, the Pevensies found themselves in a realm unknown, or rather the ruined future of narnia they once ruled. Now the Pevensies have to look for the one who summoned them - Prince Caspian, so that the latter could regain his kingdom and restore peace to ten land of Narnia. However, how could they do so, since Narnians are almost extinct and vastly outnumbered by Miraz's army? Do they need to call upon the mystical and mysterious Aslan, the mighty creator of Narnia? How? How would ever he reappear, since he was so remote? Or was he really so?
The first movie was filmed in 2002, and released in 2005. During the release of The Lion, the 'kids' were aged 18, 17, 14, and 10 respectively. Now, three years later... you do the maths. In Caspian, Skandar Keynes' voice obviously broke, and I could hardly recognize Georgie Henley! Wow! That was what "one year" had done to them (The Lion and Caspian was set one Earth-year apart).
Nevertheless, this movie has the Andrew Adamson feel. I mean, both background and environment settings, as well as the atmosphere, are more or less the same. Just like the Chris Columbus feel in the first two Harry Potter movies. Too bad the third installation: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (scheduled to release in 2010), is not going to be directed by Adamson anymore! Which means, The Voyage might appear lousy. And I wonder how much more the "Pevensies" could have changed/grown!
I was watching the movie with my non-Christian colleagues. And, immediately after the movie, one of my colleagues started to ask questions about why the story was set like that. Then I answered: It is simply because it is related to Christianity. Okay, further elaboration of our conversation will lead to spoilers. Nevertheless, later on the same day I realized that the Bible quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 was in a way elaborated in this movie. And, indeed, Christians could quickly relate Aslan to the Lion of Judah!
Of course, being a Disney movie, certain characters that are not deserved to die will not die in the end. Nevertheless, talking about a war between Narnians and Telmarines, it was expected to have body counts and casualties during the battles. And, Disney had all its way to make all animals, particularly the minute ones, "cute"!! Yesss... to those who have watched it, yes, I mean Reepicheep the talking mouse!!
And mind you, Warwick Davis was indeed cast in the movie. He had taken a role totally different from his past roles. No more Willow, no more Leprechaun, no more Professor Flitwick. He's Nikabrik the black-Dwarf, who stood by Prince Caspian, fighting against Miraz, but... not gonna mention here lest spoiler leaks.
A slightly below nine out of ten is my rating. Again, this movie would be one that I would not mind watching more than once.