Every Time I Run

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa

Taman Tasik Titiwangsa

Every time I run I thank God for (in no particular order):

  1. The chirping of birds in the early hours of the morning at 7am
  2. The trees and its overhanging branches that give shade
  3. The blue sky & clouds that frames our golden sun
  4. Every kilometre I run because it’s one kilometre more than I was able to run before
  5. Every breath I take that makes me feel alive
  6. And last but not least being able to talk to God every step along the way as I run

What do you enjoy most about running (if you do run)?

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Eyes on the Road

If all you can see is just the road...

If all you can see is just the road...

“Keep your eyes on the road boy” and so the mantra goes in my head in every step that I take.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about running is that I tend to run with my eyes on the road and more than half the time I’m mentally measuring my steps. I could be running past a beautiful sunset and I’d miss out on it which is very uncool.

... sometimes all you gotta do is just look up

... sometimes all you gotta do is just look up

Life turns out to be like that sometimes. Our eyes are so focused on the task at hand and all our problems that we fail to look up and realise that there’s that beautiful sunset that’s before us. It pays to time out to enjoy what we have already. Challenges will still get us down but there’s always something good to look forward to. All we need to do is look up and receive the  good things He has for each one of us daily.

Get your eyes off the track and look up. Maybe you’ll see something that was always there all along. In the meantime I’ve gotta learn how to enjoy my morning runs more by looking around me more.

Oh! Wish me luck cos’ I’m running my very first 21km run at next weekend’s Energizer Night Run. I’m not feeling very confident as my pace as been pretty slow and the furthest I’ve run so far in these 2 months has been 7km. If I finish this run it’d be the furthest I’ve ever run in my entire life… I hope my legs hold out. 😉

Till next time. Vaya con dios amigos.

Remember

I’ve been mulling this over for a bit and after listening to a Ravi Zacharias pod about memorials I figure now’s as good a time as any to write this. But first a lil’ rhyme to give you guys a bit of background as to why this post.

I woke up one morning  feelin’ quite blue
I asked God for something at Uber’s annual do
I started my day and left it at that
I didn’t think He heard, I didn’t think He cared

But God He took notice and He had a  plan
Tho’ I was late for dinner with the rest of the clan
My number was called and God is no fool
A big gift He gave me, something way too cool

PS3 Slim (Black)

PS3 Slim (Black)

It really was a nice surprise and even though I already have 2 Ps3s (one’s busted) it really made me see God’ goodness and answer to prayer. I could’ve been ungrateful and told God, “What? Another PS3? Why not the LED TV?” but I decided to be thankful and even though there were offers to buy the PS3 off me I didn’t take any one up on it. Why? Cos’ the new console is a gift from God! And in lot of  ways it’s a tangible reminder of God’s goodness to me. Joshua 4 has a similar story about having monuments that remind us of who God is. Read on.

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

We all need physical reminders to remind us of God in our lives and much like the Israelites’ memorial on the banks of the Jordan, the black PS3 in my room now serves the same purpose. I am blessed and seeing it reminds me every day that God knows my heart and that if He can bless me with a PS3 then I should trust Him in the deeper aches in my life.

Thanks BIG GUY!

IDMC 2010!

Hi everyone! I am so looking forward towards this year’s IDMC! The conference has been such a blessing and Ps. Edmund Chan’s sermons have been one of the reasons why I’ve gotten hungrier for God’s Word. I leave for Singapore today and I’m really looking forward to learning more at this year’s IDMC.

This year’s conference is titled “Knowing God’s Word: Moving from the HUH? To the WOW!” and it certainly is gonna be a rush cos’ I’ll arrive just in time for registration this evening. I hope I get to sleep on the bus cos’ I’m not much for sleeping on moving vehicles. Heh heh.

Moving from Huh to WOW!

Moving from Huh to WOW!

I guess God’s Word still leaves me puzzled at times and there’s loads of stuff that I am not applying in my life. There are times when I don’t fully understand some things but I’m thankful that each year that I go through the Bible, I understand His Word better. I’m learning to see Him in all my life now and like I’ve shared in previous posts, there’s just something about thanksgiving that opens up our eyes to Him. A heart without worship and an appreciation love for God blinds us to Him for some reason.

Being able to go for this year’s conference in itself is already a blessing and here’s why:

  • I originally didn’t get a place for sanctuary sitting but sometime early this year a place opened up and God blessed me with a seat.
  • I originally was planning on staying at a hotel but God has blessed me with a host and I’ll be staying with them throughout the next 4 days.
  • I’m thankful cos’ even though I have a lot of responsibilities at work, my management trusts me enough to take these few days off and trust me enough to cover things when I get back.

I don’t want my experience in Singapore to just be an increase in head knowledge and I pray that as God’s Word comes alive in me that my knowledge of Him will become more heart knowledge that will transform me through & through. For that I need to be open to the Holy Spirit and I’m learning that the natural tendency is for us to resist truth. I guess what I’m trying to say is that God wants us to surrender to Him and with that surrender we are to obey as well. It’s not easy to obey God because we don’t really believe that obeying Him leads to good things. And by good things I don’t just mean blessings here on earth but I am also referring to change in character, spiritual gifts, etc. It’s the intangible stuff that we take with us into eternity and sometimes hard lessons in life are the only things that can grow these things in us.

I must admit that it can be a long strenuous journey. At times I feel like giving up but I’m thankful that God comes alongside me to encourage me. I’m thankful too for the many people who have spoken into my life; my parents, my leaders in church and my best friends have all been partners with me in this race.

Anyways, here’s to an exciting time in Singapore and also the opportunity to catch up with some of my good friends there. See ya’ll in a couple of days!

Questions… Questions

Life's Questions

Life's Questions

It’s been a rough two weeks and the question of where God is in the midst of all this has cropped up a lot more these few weeks. Hearing my mom ask the question of why did God allow this to happen has fired up the same question in me. It’s tough to see mom in a lot of pain and it’s tougher still to have some of these questions running through my head & heart whilst having to assure mom of God’s Presence.

Despite the questioning I have a number of things that I can give thanks to Him for even though things have been rough:

  • I’m thankful that mom wasn’t hurt that bad. From what my dad has told me about her fall I’m thankful that she didn’t suffer anything far worse. It’s already bad enough to have to suffer through a closed-fracture but in the bigger picture I believe God watched over mom and protected her.
  • I’m thankful that the doctors were able to prescribe a painkiller that was safe for mom to use.
  • I’m thankful for all the people in my church and my subzone who rallied around me & my family. A few of us from my subzone met up on Thursday night to pray for my mom and other family members of the leadership who were going through struggles in the area of health.
  • I’m thankful that the orthopedic doctors were able to look at mom’s arm to confirm that it was set properly.
  • I’m thankful for answered prayer cos’ my mom’s creatinine levels are back to normal and also my subzone member Tau Fei’s mom’s blood pressure went down to normal too as a result of Thursday’s prayer meet. Tau Fei’s mom is scheduled for a knee operation on the 3rd of September so do pray for her.

I suppose the way I’ve been dealing with these questions is to replace the questioning with thanksgiving. The question of why in suffering doesn’t have a simple answer. Some say it’s just the fallen nature of the world we live in and I’ve learnt more & more that there is truth in that. I still pray a whole lot to God and I talk to Him daily about stuff and somehow having Him listen helps me get through the tougher moments in life. Many times we try to shape God in our image and expect many things of Him that isn’t really Him. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ravi Zacharias lately and it hit me very hard that instead of making the truth relevant to us; we are actually supposed to learn how to make ourselves relevant to the truth instead. That was quite a revelation and I realise that we all have misconceptions of God because we’ve not been taught well or more likely we form an image of God based on our own ideas & experiences in life.

I’m thankful that the question why bothers me far less now. Why? Because the why of my life has already been answered. Why am I here? To live a life in worship & communion with the Father and through that relationship I am to share His love with others. It doesn’t mean I don’t question the whys of suffering… but it does mean that I am learning how to get through dark & painful times knowing that there is always hope in God. It is that hope that helps us to continue to be encouragers and to be positive even though our world may be falling apart. A life of dependence on God is not weakness. It is strength.

I end today’s post with a quote from an interview with Ravi Zacharias on his book “Has Christianity Failed You?” which I am planning to get.

In surrendering you win. In dying you live.

And that’s exactly what it’s all about. We fight so much and so hard sometimes that we forget Jesus’ call to us is to just surrender and to take up His yoke which is a whole lot lighter than the yoke of the world.

Purpose vs. Happiness

I’m sure some of you must have read the following before but I thought the lessons that Rick Warren (author of “The Purpose Driven Life”) has in his sharing below is a good reminder for those of us who might be disillusioned in our faith amidst the daily struggles we face.

Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life"

Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life"

Have a read of some excerpts from an interview with Rick in an interview that was first published on www.billygraham.org.

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body– but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal.
God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ-likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, “which is my problem, my issues, my pain.” But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others. We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, 1 Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
  • First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
  • Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
  • Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
  • Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do. That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.
“Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.”
The full interview can be found here.

Turning 32 & More

I know, I know, I haven’t blogged in ages so I guess I better say a few words after turning 32 last Tuesday.

Before I ramble on I really wanna thank everyone who were a part of making my birthday a really good one this year. I’m overwhelmed by the number of Facebook messages and SMSes that came in. Some were early, some were on time and some were late but the thought that went into it really showed.

Here are some highlights in bulleted form so that I don’t bore any of you with too many words. 😛

  • An early birthday cake on the 3rd of March when I popped by a cell group that was meeting at my buddy J-son’s house.

An early birthday cake!

  • A feast of gourmet sausages and pasta with the members of my Mentoring & Accountability Group on 8th March. Thanks guys for all the birthday wishes and the eat the cake with candle challenge! And thanks for the blessings that you wished upon me.
  • My actual birthday started off with a boatload of Facebook messages, SMSes and the present of a laptop bag from my brother Luke. There were some calls throughout the day too. It was marred somewhat by my cough but on the whole I had a great day with the treat of a banana chocolate cake and a Star Wars Homing Spider Droid from my colleagues. I capped it off with a nice black pepper crab dinner with my family before succumbing to my cough that had me sick leave on Wednesday and Thursday.

    I spy a laptop bag wrapped in paper...

    A companion for my lone Trade Federation droid at home

    A companion for my lone Trade Federation droid at home

  • Last but not least, my subzone mates celebrated my birthday on Friday with some pressies and really awesome Birthday Tag Book that was handmade by my best bud’s wife. She’s even got a YouTube video up that explains what it all means. Thanks guys!
12th March pressies!

12th March pressies!

A really nice G2000 shirt!

A really nice G2000 shirt!

The awesomely crafted Birthday Tag Book

The awesomely crafted Birthday Tag Book

Last but not least I wanna thank God cos’ my mom (who has been struggling through a very bad eye infection) was a whole lot better on my birthday; which is the best birthday gift of all. There were many other things that I could’ve asked God for but I decided that the best birthday gift would be to have mom better and I’m thankful that He answered that prayer.

Anyways, thank you everyone for making my birthday a good one. I wish all of you many good things too in whatever place of life you’re in!