My Complain

I’ve been very upset and depressed for the past month. Mainly because of work that’s not related to design or producing art where I excel best (lotsa admin, management, finance and other life-sucking tasks). I feel like I’ve no outlet nor the time to design new stuff and this has heavily bogged down my unfulfilled soul. It sucks to be a designer who cannot design (like a bird being caged when it knows it’s destiny is to fly high) since the essence of what we do is fueled by the satisfying of our curiosity, trying out the uncharted and creating new things.

So, I do what I usually do best! I bring my complains to God! You know, I’ve come to discover that He’s the best person to pour out your complains, frustrations and heartaches to. Mind you, I meant “pour out to” NOT “pour out at” (there’s a world of difference in these two postures and believe me, doing the latter doesn’t help the least). And guess what? God is BIG enough to handle your complains.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” – (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV)

As the Holy Spirit prompted me to read this verse, I’ve to ask myself, what is my heart’s greatest desire? God or design? Do I find more delight in God’s love or from loving my own designs/artworks? The answer’s pretty obvious judging from my month-long depressive state. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit never fails to gently remind us when we’ve strayed a little from the original path that He has intended for us.

Is your heart sick, like mine too? Has your heart’s desire been for God? When was the last time you delighted yourself in His Love when you were bogged down by the cares of this world? When was the last time you heard His soft, still whisper that made sense and clarity of all the mysteries that you’re going through? When was the last time you knew what you were doing was exactly what He has made you for?

Maybe now is a good time to do a quick (if not, long) check? And if it helps, do complain.


The Stove that Lost its Fire

The stove in my kitchen stopped working a year ago. It used to work really well. With just a turn of the knob, we have fire coming out of the stove. Not anymore. Well, it still dispenses gas but it needs to be manually lit with a spark gun. Won’t get no fire from my stove unless you have another existing source of fire to light it up. You can call it half-broken or half-working (depends on if you’re an optimist or pessimist).

And just now, as I was preparing to cook my lunch, my stove suddenly decided to work again without the help of the spark gun! I had fire at the turn of a knob again! Do old things really fix themselves over time? Boy, ain’t I glad I didn’t decide to throw it away the moment it stopped working! And I beamed like a madman when it worked.

Sometimes, in life, we lose our fire too.

Probably, we too were once burning with fiery passion for a certain cause. Loving God, serving in the church, loving people, giving sacrificially, chasing after our dreams and ambitions, making a difference in the world because of what we believed in and so on. Inevitably, along the way, obstacles appeared: rejections, disappointments, unrealistic expectations, betrayals, shortcomings, persecutions and whatever that can deter our will to continue. And just like my stove, slowly but steadily, we burnout. We lose the last bit of the spark in us to reignite the fragile fire that once burnt so ferociously. No longer do we want to accomplish new things, go new heights and face new mountains. Now, we’re left cold, indifferent, confused, hurt, bitter, discontented and caught up with the “normal” life when you know deep down, you were made to be more than this.

Well, whatever state you’re currently in (be it 0 degrees or 100 degrees), don’t throw yourself away. I repeat, don’t throw yourself away. Like my stove, all you need is just an existing, external source of fire to light you up again. It may take a while for you find that Source of fire and I’m not saying it will be quick nor easy. But whatever it is, don’t throw yourself away. Don’t throw that passion away. Don’t throw that dream away. Who knows? One day, like my stove, you might end up finding that fiery, unquenchable flame in yourself again? And when that day comes, you too, like me, will beam like a madman.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galations 6:9


Time & Money

One of my friends forwarded me this email about time and money and I thought it was wisdom worth sharing. Gave my life a good, long, hard look to see where I stand. What about you?

1. No point using limited life to chase unlimited money.
2. No point earning so much money you cannot live to spend it.
3. Money is not yours until you spend it.
4. When you are young, you use your health to chase your wealth; when you are old, you use your wealth to buy back your health. Difference is that, it is too late.
5. How happy a man is, is not how much he has but how little he needs.
6. No point working so hard to provide for the people you have no time to spend with.

Remember this: We come to this world with nothing, we leave this world with nothing!

“Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don’t enjoy life anymore.” Someday the light of the sun and the moon and the stars will all seem dim to you. Rain clouds will remain over your head. Your body will grow feeble, your teeth will decay, and your eyesight fail. The noisy grinding of grain will be shut out by your deaf ears, but even the song of a bird will keep you awake. You will be afraid to climb up a hill or walk down a road. Your hair will turn as white as almond blossoms. You will feel lifeless and drag along like an old grasshopper. We each go to our eternal home, and the streets are filled with those who mourn. The silver cord snaps, the golden bowl breaks; the water pitcher is smashed, and the pulley at the well is shattered. So our bodies return to the earth, and the life-giving breath returns to God.” – Ecclesiastes 12:1-7


The Dispensable Traffic Light

When I go to work, I pay RM1.60 at the highway toll. But when I return, I avoid the toll by using a small back road. Not many people choose to use that back road because it’s quite windy and the roads are not exactly in the best condition (unless you drive on the right lane all the way, like I do to avoid the potholes and ever uneven left lane). As I was driving home from work just now, it suddenly hit me and I realized that there were quite a number of traffic lights along that road. The problem is, I’ve never noticed them nor obeyed them! That means I have been speeding red lights all this while! And guess what? No one else does too! Everyone else, like me, speeds through the traffic lights as though they were non-existent! (I’ve seen cops do that too!)

You see, traffic lights were created as instructions so that we can have a smooth and safe journey to wherever we’re headed. It’s not a guide. It’s not an option. It’s not an opinion. It’s an instruction. Period. Obey it or risk dying (literally). Without traffic lights, we risk our lives, getting into accidents and worse, cause other innocent people to be hurt along the way.

May I ask? What’s your traffic light in life? What or who has the final say of where you’re headed is the right or wrong way?

Money? Too superficial. It’s too promiscuous. It will tell you to prostitute and sell your soul just to get more of it.
Fame? Too shallow. It’s too much of a fad. One moment you’re famous and another you’re down in the dumps.
Your parents? No disrespect, but they don’t even know what will happen to their own lives tomorrow.

Luckily for me, I’ve found my traffic light. Of course, I’m referring to the Bible, which claims to be the rhema (spoken) Word of God and to be God itself (John 1:1). This traffic light speaks clearly with authority into all areas of my life. In my relationships, in my purity, in my dreams and ambitions, in my future, in my work, in my finances, in my life purpose, in my social responsibilities and so on. I have yet to find such comprehensive authority from one single “book” as such. Not in another philosopher’s assumption, not in another prophet’s revelation, nor in another governing head’s decree. People ask me why I hold on to the Bible as my way of living and I answer, “If you can find me a better way to live, I’ll follow.”

None compares to it. None even comes close.

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

So, what’s your traffic light, if I may still ask? If you have none, you’re really driving in life like the way I drive on that back road, never knowing when you’ll crash into something dead-or-alive serious.


Center Point

“If the sun was to move even the slightest bit, the whole solar system and all the planets will go off tangent and will start crashing into one another,” said the ever intelligent Ps Shawn as he was preaching at this morning’s church service.

He wasn’t there to give us a lesson on astronomy though. He used that as an illustration to show the importance of a center point. An anchor that holds everything together. In the context of astronomy, he was referring to the sun and how it holds together the laws of the universe (gravity, heat, proximity and etc). In the context of life, he was refering to the power of the cross and how Christ holds together our lives (emotion, physical, spiritual and every other aspect).

But all too often, and very naturally, we trade our center points with other more “tangible” and earthly things. Fame, money, success, family, health, wellbeing, power, pleasure and so on. Guess what? All these are are mere “temporals” and they’re bound to fail one way or another. It’s just a matter of time they fail, and when they do, our worlds come crumbling down (the same way planets crash if the sun fails to stay put).

So, why should we set Christ and what He has done on the cross for us as our center point? What’s so significant about Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross? To answer that question, Ps Shawn gave us a short English lesson on each of Jesus’ final words when he was hanging there on that cross. The famous final three words,

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The word “It” refers to the sacrifice for sins, “is” refers to an ever-present notion that never expires nor changes and “finished” (from the Hebrew root word “Tetelestai”) refers to:

1. An act of completion/perfection (when nothing else can be added)
2. A transaction/deal made final (when nothing else can be changed)
3. A notion of paid in full (when nothing else can be compensated anymore)

So, when Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,” it means:

1. It is utterly arrogant for us to think that our good works/actions (which the Bible calls filthy rags) can make God forgive us more because Jesus has already completed/perfected the “work” part by dying on the cross for us.
2. It is utterly offensive to think that our works/actions (be it good or bad) can ever change God’s mind to forgive us when Jesus has already sealed the deal with God. His body and life for ours. That was the deal. Not (and never) our works for our salvation.
3. It is utterly foolish to work/serve harder in order to “pay” God more for our forgiveness when Jesus has already paid for our ransom in full.

For these three words, I am thankful. Thankful because I can never outdo what Christ has done for me out of His eternal love for me. Thankful because I can never be holy or evil enough to make God change His mind about me, always the apple of His eye. Thankful because I can never repay God enough yet nothing can ever rob me from His promise of undeserved salvation.


The Art of Driving, Drifting, Screaming, Spinning and Laughing at the Same Time

You hear that saying all the time that when you’re about to die, you see your whole life flashing through your mind in a split second. Well, not for me. I only saw spinning roads and car headlights.

As usual, I was driving back home from work using the Desaria road to avoid the toll. My colleague, Mr Chun Chow, was following behind me as I was introducing him to a nice place to eat near our place. I was quite hungry and I was driving at my usual speed (which can be quite fast) but I forgot it was raining (yes, sometimes I drive in autopilot mode without my brain even functioning). So, I was driving at my usual speed (I repeat, which can be quite fast), the road is wet and slippery, there is a sharp curve ahead, my mind was in autopilot… well, you can roughly guess what was going to happen next.

According to Mr Chun Chow, he thought I was drifting and he was quite impressed actually (I drive a Kancil, the smallest but cutest car in the world). Until he saw my car spinning, that is.

Alright, now just imagine the scene changing immediately (like in a movie) to me inside my car. The scene starts with a black screen and the lingering sound effect of an unbearable pitchy noise, with the camera slowly zooming out to what seems like a throat and finally showing the image of me screaming my lungs out, holding on to my steering wheel like a barnacle to the pillar of a jetty, with the car spinning in slow motion. And there and then, you are reminded of the merry-go-round that you used to ride when you were a child, only faster, say, like 70km/h.

I thought I was going to die.

And then the adrenaline-pumping merry-go-round session stopped. Only a few inches away, there was a drain which was big enough for my Kancil to drop into (the pitchy sound effect has not ended, I was still screaming). My car had turned 180 degrees, now facing the bewildered cars that were coming in my direction.

I made a u-turn, came out (I’ve stopped screaming by then) to check on my car and see if it’s ok, went in again and laughed my lungs out, thinking “That was way too cool! Let’s do it again!!!” and “Hallelujah! Thank God I’m alive!!!”

Over dinner, I requested Mr Chun Chow to record a video of me in action should I be caught doing that in public again.

I want to thank God for giving me such an amazing, undiscovered and life-saving talent. I want to thank my mother and father for teaching me how to step on the brakes with all my heart, mind, soul and strength when I want my car to stop whatever it’s doing. I want to thank my driving instructor for never warning me that this might happen if I drive fast on slippery roads whilst making sharp curves or I never would have the privilege to experience this exhilarating joyride. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my beloved, horizontally challenged mechanic. Where would I be today without you and your constant nagging of changing my brake oils and tyres? As for all my friends out there, you know who you are. You rock.