Monthly Archives: April 2007

Disenchantment – An evaluation of my spiritual condition

That pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling lately. Well I’m pretty sure I got the word right – as in nothing fascinates you any more.

And it’s a horrible feeling.

What are the things I’m disenchanted with?

1) School
2) Hours after school

Haha. Yeah…things are boring me out. I mean there’s quite a bit of work to be getting on with but I just find no gain in the things I do. There’s no excitement and every day is lived in so much routine.

The human soul was created to be fascinated. And I think as bleak as this period of my life is, it has taught me at least one thing – this life can only satisfy so much, then it gets boring.

Of course the problem comes when you try to go to God to get satisfied, and you don’t seem to get anything out of it. If the first thing was horrible, I think this borders on suicidal.

Lol. Umm. I am not suicidal btw. Just a choice of words – quite apt in a certain sense, for those who know what I mean.

But yeah, I think everyone has dark periods in their life like these. My last one was quite a long time back, about two years back, when my life felt quite aimless.

This time round though, I’ve learnt one thing. Its moments like these, when the darkness seems oppressive, stifling, suffocating the joy out of life, its moments like these when God’s light shines brightest. It’s just a matter of waiting for the light to come – because it will. God is the everlasting God. Even in the darkness He reigns. And He will place a limit on what we have to endure and lift us up when our time of testing is finished.

For those who have believed, John Piper calls us to fight for joy like a justified sinner. We often take for granted the power of the cross of Christ. I’m doing injustice to a great book (When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper) which I think is a great book for those who just feel stuck and stagnant in their relationship with God, but to summarise the key bit to this concept, the idea is that the fight for joy is a fight to see the glory of God – because Piper argues that the Bible preaches the idea that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” and our satisfaction only comes when we see God for who He really is, i.e. glorious. And the glory of God is most tangible in the cross of Christ.

Paul says it himself when he says “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14)”. Our primary source of power is found there. Because there we see God in His full glory – the merciful and compassionate God who loved us so much that He died to take away our sins, something we could not do ourselves. The story of the cross, the story of redemption is the full display of the glory of God. And thus it is there that we are most satisfied. God gives us little glimpses of His glory in our daily lives, but none compares to the fact of Christ crucified and risen.

It’s like this David Crowder song, Heaven Came Down:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul/When at the cross my Savior made me whole/My sins were washed away/And my night was turned to day/When heaven came down and glory filled my soul/O what a wonderful wonderful day/Day I will never forget/When I was wandering in darkness away/Jesus my Savior I met/O what a tender compassionate Friend/He met the need of my heart/Shadows dispelling with joy I am telling/He made all the darkness depart/O what a wonderful wonderful day/And O what a glorious glorious day/The day you came, came to save me/O what a wonderful wonderful day/The day you came and you saved me

And Piper acknowledges that the fight for joy exists. Christianity doesn’t promise instant gratification. There are moments of darkness. And the biblical writers had their moments. But Piper encourages us to fight with what he calls ‘ gutsy guilt’. In Micah 7 : 8-9, (Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.), Micah acknowledges that moments of darkness exist. Because we are truly sinners and we deserve to bear the indignation/anger of God.

But here’s the amazing truth here. For those of us who have believed and have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we do not face the wrath of an angry judge but the discipline of a loving father. And so while we bear the indignation of God, we have to but wait a little longer, when God will lift His darkness and restore our joy. And this joy is all the more sweeter. It’s like how an ice-cream tastes much better after baking in the sun all day rather than having spent the day in a freezing room. The contrast emphasises it.

And Piper calls this manner of fight for joy the way of gutsy guilt. Because while we acknowledge that we’re guilty, when the enemy (for most of us this would be the devil) rubs it in our faces, we can stand up and say that God will be my light. He is for me. He will not forsake me. Because of what He had first done for us at the cross. Moreover, God will execute judgment for us – now the tables are turned on our enemy.

Piper contrasts this with ‘cheap grace’, which I would succinctly described as a “all will be good and happy. If things are going bad, then you do not have faith” sort of doctrine. The fact is that we have really fallen short of God’s standards. There is real judgment for what we have done. There is a darkness we have to face. But because of the cross, in what was once a dark world, we have a hope – the promise of the light of God. This light may sometimes seem dim, but it’s always there and in our greatest moment of darkness, if we can seize hold of the power of the cross and the fact that we have already been made righteous, we can endure until God chooses to lift the oppressiveness of the darkness.

Haha. I have to say that was pretty heavy doctrine there. But the darkness is real. It suffocates and stifles our joy. The fact is the Christian life is not all prosperous and comfortable. But there is joy. An eternal joy. Because in the darkness, when life seems to go nowhere, we can lay hold to the power of the cross – that Jesus has redeemed us – and that will be enough for us, until God lifts the darkness and a greater joy descends upon us.

And for those who don’t believe, the offer of joy is still free and available for all those who choose to believe. Because I can tell you that night is here, but morning will come for those who hold fast to the joy that is found in the power of the cross. And then this life wont seem so bad, because we have a light to lead us through the darkness, to heaven where we will be forever satisfied in the presence of our great and glorious God.

Lol. In fact I’m feeling a little bit happier now. Haha. I think it helped to get this off my chest into the open.

When Silence Falls

This may comes across as a depressing post for some of you. But I just feel some things have to be said…

Some things just shock you to your very core.

Like the Virginia Tech shooting. 33 lives gone. Just like that.

Living in Malaysia, I am pretty grateful, that despite all the fallacies of this country, it is a safe place by comparison.

But things like these just feel so inexplainable. It reminds me of the year before, when one of the guys in my year died just like that after being stabbed.

You feel indignation, anger, a need for justice, a need to right wrongs, especially when it becomes personal.

To many death is the ultimate foe. It is unbeatable. The sting unbearable.

But why do I feel so shock when 33 people die, and when all over the world 0.86% of the population dies every year, which works out to roughly 1.8 persons dying a second or 156773 people dying a day, I hardly blink an eye?

Is it because it was ‘before their time’? That they had their whole lives ahead of them? That it was unfair for them to die because they did not deserve it?

The fact remains that people die, eventually. Immortality on this earth is a sham. Medicine might prolong our lives. But then we die.

And it is this very fact that should lead you to ask the very question: To what end am I living this life? What happens after I die? Am I living life to the fullest here?

Questions like these beg more than simple answers.

Because until you find these answers, life is but a fleeting thought, a vapor in the wind, a flower that blooms then shrivels and dies.

And that kind of life is not worth living.

For all those just trying to get through the next few hours, for those finding answers, for those looking for hope, for those in pain and sorrow, for those in the darkest night of their life, for those who can no longer find words to express yourself, when silence falls it is then you hear the whisper of God. If you would but listen. If you would but ask God for eyes to see the truth.

The truth is that while the world seems to be heading for ruin, God is still God, through it all. And when all around is fading, when nothing seems to last, we still have hope in a Saviour who has rescued us from the sting of death. And in Him, we find strength to live every hour of our life. And while rescue is present in every moment of our life, when we need Him to pull us out of the darkness of the pit we find ourselves in, there is a greater rescue that is coming. When He comes to bring us back to Him. The victory has been won but just wait a little longer.

That is the story of Easter.

Thirty three (33)

For some reason, my printer screen is in German. Well, at least I think it’s German. Mmm. Still trying to discover where the language settings are.

Anyways, 33 is the number of days to go before school is finished.

Officially.

Although there are exams.

But it’s school that I dislike.

The many things I dislike about school include: the really tedious homework, the early hours, the sometimes boring lessons which are of no benefit, lousy canteen food that is the main cause of my malnutrition – you’re better off starving in this respect

The many more things I like about school: accounting classes – I am one big distraction, further math classes – another distraction, people in school, the times when I’m not feeling sleepy

But overall the hours and the boredom kind of tip the scale in favour of me disliking school.

Anyways enough of my school gripe.

I currently have no interesting thoughts of the day. Kinda. I do have this thought i came up with but it slipped my mind. Also, I’m currently wondering how I (and am pretty sure other people do this as well) seem to waste the hours away in front of the computer doing nothing and mucking around. It’s seriously unproductive and yet time just flies when you’re doing nothing.

It’s a mystery. Attempting to figure out how the time is actually used.

Sleepless in KL

*warning* the following post may contain graphic descriptions. Reader discretion is adviced. *warning*

Phlegm.

The very word just sounds really phlegmy.

Haha. The wonders of the English language.

I’ve spent the second week of the Easter break pretty sick, for the first three days. And then there comes all that lingering phlegm. Which just wakes you up at night so you can sip some water and clear your respiratory channels because the phlegm moves up into your nose. After all phlegm, mucus, nose boogies are all the same thing, just in different parts of the body and all that technical stuff. So anyways when morning comes, there are a bunch of tissues with green semi-solid substances in it, which have migrated from my throat up my nose down onto the tissue. And it’s a pretty distracting migration.

So yeah the previous night are kind of sleepless because I end up waking up a lot. I think this is really slowing down my recovery as a result.

Ahh well….

On another note, because I tend to like my posts to be more educational, I’ll talk on a subject close to my heart.

I mean that pretty literally, since it’s in fact right next to me.

Haha.

Computer games.

Now, I’ll place myself in the category of a person that loves the following type of game: all Command and Conquer games (I have to get myself the third one soon – looks sooooo good, but i digress); building games, because at heart I love planning and building stuff and seeing the money roll in and things grow etc etc; role playing games although lately there’s been a dearth of ones i like. I kinda hate the long convoluted adventures where you get lost without a walkthrough and requires so much walking in jungles and dungeons and stuff. Give me a quick story to blast through. Best RPG I’ve ever played? An oldie, the Fallout series. Although apparently Fallout 3 is in the works, under the production of the creators of ElderScrolls – should be good. Then there are the odd game or two i enjoy once in a while, like Civilisation IV, and other real time strategy games like warhammer and thing like that. Oh and don’t forget the FIFA series, which I’m pretty good at albeit a bit rusty.

And I didn’t forget first person shooters, because i personally dislike them. They’re nice to play multiplayer. But I just don’t like the gameplay. It’s way too brainless. Puzzles are just there as eye candy for whatever new physics engine they’ve created. Most of you will disagree. I will agree to disagree.

But anyways, here’s the game that bothers me.

Grand Theft Auto.

Mmm. One of the first games to make the leap from 2D to 3D. I have to say when GTA3 was released, I went ooh-ahh over the whole gameplay, which was just really cool.

Then of course the series starts evolving. GTA3 was clean. Very clean. Especially when compared to GTA: San Andreas. Now that last one, I hated. All the vulgarity, the blatant criminality.

Wait a minute, that’s what GTA is at heart – a game where you are a criminal. (Getting into a police car and playing vigilante still makes you a criminal, which explains why the police are always after Batman in that whole universe, which is pretty ironic considering that without Batman, they’re a pretty impotent force)

So anyways people who read the news, even just gaming news will know that (eventhough this is old news), that GTA has sparked a whole bunch of controversy. Issues like: does the game glorify violence and sex and all that? etc. And in turn what effect is it having on the kids of this generation? Mmmm. Very deep questions.

I have to say that computer games are my one weakness. I easily succumb to addiction, if the game is really good. (dumb command and conquer and city building game developers) Anyways the point which I’m trying to consider is this:

I know these kind of games are bad, especially games like GTA. But at the same time the gameplay’s just so engrossing. But here’s how I quit that series for good.

When I was playing the vice city version (which wasn’t that derogatory yet), my then 7 year old cousin comes over and I’m driving this really fast car speeding down the highway and my cousin LOVES racing games. So I thought, ahh this game is pretty harmless, let him get in the car, let me turn on the invulnerability cheat and let him crash and bang and drive all he wants.

Now fast forward one year later, and San Andreas gets released. The covers look virtually similar to a kid that young. San Andreas is definitely deserving of its mature rating, although it pushes me to question whether having to resort to use of much vulgarity and other indecencies is actually a mature thing to start with – it’s more of an immature maturity (a phrase which makes no sense).

SO anyways he pesters me to want to play it, and I think the elements in this game are just so horrible, I hide the game and blatantly lie to his face that I forgot to delete the shortcut on the desktop. (I uninstalled the game later that day)

Because we should never expose kids to this sort of thing.

Sure people say it’s the real world. Stop protecting them

Well, here’s the newsflash, it’s actually not the real world. It’s a MTV culture. There was a news article that day, with the owner of MTV saying they control the teenagers of this generation. The only reason why the culture is the way it is today is because people say that’s how it has always been, when in the first place it has never always been like this, but because of ignorant persistence we assume the culture is as such, i.e. culture is what culture says.

Haha. That’s a chunky statement to digest but the moral of the story is this.

Make a stand. Let’s chuck out all the undesirable elements and transform the deteriorating morality of today’s culture. Because culture is what culture says, say something different.

Say something morally right.

(This post is long enough already. So I have to refrain from delving into the spiritual elements of such an issue. And of course the whole issue could span pages and pages. So I’ve just written what’s on my mind and quickly jump from intro to conclusion. The processing bits have to be left out.)

The wait is over

Ahh.

So what has happened in the past 2 months and quite a bit?

Well. Firstly, I have to say I was busy. My half completed post is lying somewhere in the deep recesses of another person’s hard drive, which I used as borrowed storage space when I had to format this computer.

And it all started when my internet connection failed.

OK. So it was either a hardware or software problem.

Well, I can’t be bothered to post the whole process up but the conclusion was that it was BOTH a software and hardware problem.

So I had to format this computer, and then I went out to buy a wireless USB adapter.

And there we are. I’m back.

What’s happening in my life?

For those of you who know I’m a huge David Crowder Band fan (although I don’t quite like the use of the word ‘fan’, it’s more of an affinity for their work. I don’t go crazy over them.), they are recording their new album, as of 3 weeks in the making. If you go to this site, you can catch them recording their new album, Remedy. Pretty neat the webcams and the clip of the days and all.

Easter is over. It was a really busy week, editing videos and all. And then I spent the earlier part of this week pretty sick.

And finally, I’m 18!

Haha. I just had to say that. Ah well.

Next post will be up soon. I hope. Haha. Again it depends on the teachers at school. I’m half tempted to just miss every single lesson except history, since my As in those subject are no longer going to be dependent on lesson attendance.