Friday, December 31, 2004

Notice: Blogger away

You'd much rather be at Adelaine's.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God", a hymn by Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

To the tsunami victims and their families.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

"The Greatest Gift of All", by Greg Laurie

I heard that someone actually tried to calculate how much it would cost to give the gifts named in the classic Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The grand total came to about $15,000. Some items were affordable, like a partridge in a pear tree for $34.99. Six turtledoves will run you somewhere around $50. Six geese-a-laying will cost around $150. But the price soars when you add 11 pipers piping. That is $1,000 right there. Then there are the 12 drummers drumming. With current union scale for musicians, they will run you another $1,000. The price really soars when you get 12 lords-a-leaping. We are talking $3,000 for them. Granted, I don't know where you would find them, but they are very expensive.

Still, the real message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Rather, it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us. It is the only gift that truly keeps on giving, so I want to point out four things about it.

First, it is surprising. When Christmas rolls around, you often try to figure out if certain people have bought that gift you really wanted. Maybe you already know what they bought, because they didn't hide it very well. Or, maybe you uncovered it by accident—or maybe not. But when the day comes and you open the present, you have to pretend you're surprised. Yet all along, you knew what it was. God's gift to us, however, was a complete surprise. It was not expected, and as you examine it more carefully, you realize how great a gift it actually was.

Second, God's gift came to us in the humblest of wrappings. What would you think if you saw a gift under your Christmas tree that was wrapped in newspaper and tied up with string? At first, you would probably assume that a guy wrapped it. But think about God's gift to us. Jesus was not born in a palace of gold; He was born in a stable. He was clothed with rags. He was laid in a feeding trough. Yet these things do not, in any way, diminish the story of Christ's birth. If anything, they help us realize the great sacrifice God made for us. God's gift to humanity, the ultimate gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, came in the simplest and humblest of wrappings.

Third, we don't deserve this gift. At Christmas, we give gifts to those whom we care about, who have been kind to us over the past year, or who have given us a gift first. We don't give gifts to the person who has been slandering our name or to the angry neighbor who never has a kind word to say. Yet God gave us His gift when we were His enemies. He didn't give this gift to us because we deserved it. In fact, it was just the opposite. The Bible tells us, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 NKJV).

Fourth, the gift tells us something about the giver. When you want to give someone a gift, you start thinking about it ahead of time. Hopefully you try to find what that person wants or needs. When God decided to give us the gift of eternal life, it wasn't something that He just thought of on the fly. Long before there was a town called Bethlehem, a garden called Eden, and a planet called Earth, a decision was made in eternity that God would send forth His Son, born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those that are under the law. The Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Make no mistake about it: this gift that God has given to us was the most sacrificial thing He possibly could have offered.

So Christmas isn't about those gifts that you have your tree right now. All of those things will be gone one day. All that will be left after this life is the human soul, and that will live forever. We will put so much stock in what we have, but this is all going to pass away. Life is about what happens beyond the grave. Life is about knowing the God who made you and who gave you the greatest gift you will ever receive.

About Greg Laurie

Saturday, December 25, 2004

AWAY IN A MANGER... "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' " (Luke 2:8-12) Posted by Hello

"Cecilia's Dress"

Cecilia wears a dainty new dress
For a lover she’s dying to impress,
And as Cecilia hurries to town
She makes all the ladies frown.

‘Cause Cecilia runs with such speed
Her flowing dress the boys heed--
They thank that in Cecilia’s haste
Her symmetry doesn’t go to waste.

As Cecilia reaches her rendez-vous
In the middle of a bustling zoo,
She spots from a distance her honey pie
Who wears a lovely, big blue tie.

Gaily he waves at his Cecilia dear
Whom he hasn’t seen for one full year,
And now he’s set with a poem and a rose
To Cecilia he’s going to propose:

“Cecilia, Cecilia, I must confess
That is really one beautiful dress,
But if you don’t mind me saying--
Even the chimpanzees are staring!”


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

That superior race called female

Girls don't just know what they want, you believe it now. They know it better than guys... and much earlier... and with much more conviction than we'll ever match.

Met a girl today who even before she had any boyfriend, had decided that she'd fall in love instead of going out on dates. She was only 17 then.

You only made that decision after so many trials. Even then you were kind of pussyfooting. You've been warned many times against girls like that by the collective male wisdom passed down from as way back as genesis; what they'd expect from you... how they'd manipulate you to get what they want... what you must do to hold your ground...

The truth is, that's how we guys would love to commit ourselves but never could. It's such an easy pass to say that guys would not commit themselves. We would if we can help it--in front of women more real than us we just can't. No wonder your kind has always been intimidated by such a display of will by the opposite sex, and for once you feel like betraying your kind. The only problem is there aren't enough girls like that these days. Girls who really know what they want and won't compromise their values even when everyone else is living differently.

Oy! There are much fewer guys like that.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

"The Imprudent Knight"

At the sight of her beauty
he leapt, kicked sand, and charged to her rescue--
At the sight of her he fought
with passion but not a sword!
First blow landed on his face
where a helmet could have replaced disgrace;
The second was planted right in his center
where there was no breastplate as cover;
Numerous other left bootprints on his behind--
that shall serve as an achy remind!

Edited December 21, 2004. Thanks to Philo for his comments.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Rediscovering Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton, courtesy of The Photo Source
Mr. G.K. Chesterton.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Have you outdone Mr. Jones?

Back from Kuala Lumpur after two hours of flight delay. "One of those nights when the luggages are misplaced," the pilot announced guilelessly through the inflight PA.

Met up with Adelaine on Monday in Sunway. "If you're given the choice between two jobs," she said, "with one paying you well but not as well as your neighbour's and the other paying you half as much but better than what your neighbour is making - which job would you take?"

She said she'd rather take the job that pays her less knowing that the neighbours are earning much less.

So would Eugene (colleague #1).

So would Ian (colleague #2).

So would the majority making up "survey shows that..."

Maybe it's just you. But the urge to compare with the Joneses being the basis of so many choices is simply too insatiable an appetite to gratify. Where is the satisfaction in balancing happiness on a scale when it can easily be enjoyed even when the weight is tipped to the other side of the fence?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Nearing the heart of God

B said:
I think the best illustration about God winning people is simply a man winning the woman he loves. He may love her long before she loves him but if he is wise and wins her heart do we say it was against her will? And if it was against her will would she have it any other way? When one's heart is won it does not feel like a choice but still no one forced us to. How wonderful is God's love. Who will be able to resist Him in the end?
That's the great Warrior-Lover.

...will you be like Him?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Things that complete a rainy day

raindrops hitting the roof

wheels splashing the gutter

dewy windows

cool sheets

a book sprawling faced down

flapping blinds

Sarah Vaughan's rendition of When Sunny Gets Blue

a slice of ginger in tea

neighbour's drenched laundry hanging in the backyard

the mood to re-enact Gene Kelly

GHOSTS OF MID-AUTUMN PAST... Found this badly-lit picture taken two years ago during the Mooncake Festival. The closest photographic evidence to supernatural crossovers. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

DREAMY... Archipelago of clouds overhanging the Indian Ocean seen from inside homebound plane (taken summer 2002) Posted by Hello