Friday, October 21, 2011

A Year After ...

Been a year without your phone calls, no one tell me to "drink more water" again. How's life up there with him? Still think you went too quickly mom, still look at the places we visited together here and can't help not to think of you. Went to Chicago several months ago, and still wish you were there. Planning to go to Hongkong with papi etc this Dec, and can't help to wish you can go with us, and enjoy the trip together. We never travel together right, the five of us, not that papi will allow it though ;p

Miss you...  I know it's your anniversary up there, but it does not look like an anniversary down here. They went to your site to place some flowers though, or should I say to shower you with flowers. Not that you care or could be happier with that, knowing that you have more beautiful flowers there, but we, still in our flesh, can't help not to do it. At the very least, it makes us feel better, even me who only look at the picture. I guess each of us has to express something, with our own way of handling it.

I did some stupid things too, sometimes I wonder if that comes from my lack of faith or simply just an act of "showering flowers". But God has been gracious though, well, I think you know him better now than I. Glad that He is taking care of you there, must be a hell of a year.

Well, till we meet again?

This is beautiful, I hope you like it, considering how much you like flowers. Happy one year.

You Are God's Critic, But Do You Have the Answer?

Throughout the year, I learn to stop asking the question "why", because sometimes God chooses not to answer our question. Not because he doesn't have the answer, but simply because he does not prefer to - just like how he shut Job's mouth when Job was demanding an explanation.

Job 38
1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom
      with such ignorant words?
 3 Brace yourself like a man,
      because I have some questions for you,
      and you must answer them.

 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
      Tell me, if you know so much.
 5 Who determined its dimensions
      and stretched out the surveying line?

 6 What supports its foundations,
      and who laid its cornerstone
 7 as the morning stars sang together
      and all the angels
 shouted for joy?
 8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
      as it burst from the womb,
 9 and as I clothed it with clouds
      and wrapped it in thick darkness?
 10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
      limiting its shores.
 11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
      Here your proud waves must stop!’

 12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
      and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
 13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
      to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
 14 As the light approaches,
      the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
      it is robed in brilliant colors.
 15 The light disturbs the wicked
      and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
 16 “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
      Have you explored their depths?
 17 Do you know where the gates of death are located?
      Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
 18 Do you realize the extent of the earth?
      Tell me about it if you know!

19 “Where does light come from,
      and where does darkness go?
 20 Can you take each to its home?
      Do you know how to get there?
 21 But of course you know all this!
   For you were born before it was all created,
      and you are so very experienced!
 22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
      or seen the storehouses of hail?
 23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
      for the day of battle and war.)
 24 Where is the path to the source of light?
      Where is the home of the east wind?
 25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
      Who laid out the path for the lightning?
 26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
      in a desert where no one lives?
 27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
      and make the tender grass spring up?
 28 “Does the rain have a father?
      Who gives birth to the dew?
 29 Who is the mother of the ice?
      Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
 30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
      and the surface of the water freezes.

 31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
      binding the cluster of the Pleiades
      or loosening the cords of Orion?
 32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
      or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
 33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
      Can you use them to regulate the earth?
 34 “Can you shout to the clouds
      and make it rain?
 35 Can you make lightning appear
      and cause it to strike as you direct?
 36 Who gives intuition to the heart
      and instinct to the mind?
 37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
      Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
 38 when the parched ground is dry
      and the soil has hardened into clods?
 39 “Can you stalk prey for a lioness
      and satisfy the young lions’ appetites
 40 as they lie in their dens
      or crouch in the thicket?
 41 Who provides food for the ravens
      when their young cry out to God
      and wander about in hunger?

Job 39

 1 “Do you know when the wild goats give birth?
      Have you watched as deer are born in the wild?
 2 Do you know how many months they carry their young?
      Are you aware of the time of their delivery?
 3 They crouch down to give birth to their young
      and deliver their offspring.
 4 Their young grow up in the open fields,
      then leave home and never return. 5 “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom?
      Who untied its ropes?
 6 I have placed it in the wilderness;
      its home is the wasteland.
 7 It hates the noise of the city
      and has no driver to shout at it.
 8 The mountains are its pastureland,
      where it searches for every blade of grass.
 9 “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed?
      Will it spend the night in your stall?

 10 Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow?
      Will it plow a field for you?
 11 Given its strength, can you trust it?
      Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work?
 12 Can you rely on it to bring home your grain
      and deliver it to your threshing floor?
 13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly,
      but they are no match for the feathers of the stork.
 14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth,
      letting them be warmed in the dust.
 15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them
      or a wild animal might destroy them.
 16 She is harsh toward her young,
      as if they were not her own.
      She doesn’t care if they die.
 17 For God has deprived her of wisdom.
      He has given her no understanding.
 18 But whenever she jumps up to run,
      she passes the swiftest horse with its rider.

 19 “Have you given the horse its strength
      or clothed its neck with a flowing mane?
 20 Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust?
      Its majestic snorting is terrifying!
 21 It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength
      when it charges out to battle.
 22 It laughs at fear and is unafraid.
      It does not run from the sword.
 23 The arrows rattle against it,
      and the spear and javelin flash.
 24 It paws the ground fiercely
      and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows.
 25 It snorts at the sound of the horn.
      It senses the battle in the distance.
      It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle.
 26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar
      and spread its wings toward the south?
 27 Is it at your command that the eagle rises
      to the heights to make its nest?
 28 It lives on the cliffs,
      making its home on a distant, rocky crag.
 29 From there it hunts its prey,
      keeping watch with piercing eyes.
 30 Its young gulp down blood.
      Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”

Job 40

Then the Lord said to Job,
"Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
      You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?"

And with that, I am silenced .......

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Praise You in this Storm

"Sometimes God calms our storm, sometimes He chooses to ride the storm with us." Praise you in this storm. Great song.

Praise You in this Storm
I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away 

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone, how can I carry on
if I can't find You
as as the thunder rolls
I barely hear, You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego replied to him, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of god you have set up."
 Daniel 3:16-18

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mere Christianity Discussion / Study Guide. Part 2

This is the part two of my post on Mere Christianity and its study guide / discussion questions. Here is the link to part 1. Again, hope this helps.

Book 3 - Christian Behavior
Chapter 1 - 3
1. What do you think when you hear the word "morality"? Make it practical and think of some of moral issues we or the world is facing today.
2. In chapter 3, do you think Lewis is proposing a Christian society? Do you agree that Christian society would be an utopia?
3. In the same chapter, Lewis talked about cherry-picking some values from christian morality which conform / confirm our pre-existing belief. Point out one that is evident in today's society.

Chapter 4 - Morality and Psychoanalysis
1. Lewis stated that psychoanalysis and Christianity share similar technique. How are they similar? "Freud ... is not in the least contradictory to Christianity. Its technique overlaps with Christian morality at some points ..."

Chapter 5 - Sexual Morality
1. Understand Lewis' analogy of sex and food (the bacon strip tease). Looking at how prevalent sexual immorality is in today's society, how does Lewis' argument helpful? Does it relevant, does it give a counter argument to current culture? What are some objections to sexual abstinence?

Chapter 6 - Christian Marriage
1. We often heard that love is not a feeling but a commitment. "If love is the whole thing then the promise can add nothing, then it should not be made" or "And in fact, whatever people say, the state called being in love usually does not last." The implication of this is, marriage is not only based on love, but more on commitment. And if feeling will go away, do married couple actually has no more love for each other and simply view the relationship as a binding commitment? As you read, think of some biblical basis to support or refute that statement.

Chapter 7 - Forgiveness
1. On paragraph 3, Lewis said that, "It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven". Does this mean that divine forgiveness depend on us?
2. Refusal to forgive a person usually translate into a form of punishment ( par 8). What kind of punishment do you usually deliver, and when is the last time you blow that punishment?
3. Looking at the atrocities in the world (imagine Hitler or 9/11 or even a person who has hurt you profoundly deep), is anyone ever beyond forgiveness?

Chapter 8 - The Great Sin 
1. Lewis argued that "the utmost evil, is Pride". How do you agree or disagree with that statement.
2. We hear a lot of saying that we need to take pride in our body, in our nation, in our achievement, or maybe in our sexual orientation (gay pride etc). Does Lewis speak against this? Explain.
3. I personally believe that this is one of the greatest piece about the topic of Pride. Highlight several statements that stand out to you and please share.

Chapter 9 - Charity
1. Lewis argues that to love someone, we need to stop to manufacture the feeling and just go to the action (par 5). Is motivation important then? How could we justify doing something when we do not feel like it (or still have impure motivation)?

Chapter 10 - Hope
1. In paragraph 2, Lewis states that "something has evaded us". What are the things that have evaded you in your personal life?
2. Lewis implies here that humans tend to be hopeful and later be disappointed in life. Among the three alternatives he provides in dealing with hope, which one reflects you the most? Provide example.

Chapter 11 - Faith
1. Lewis seems to imply that faith must come from reasoning or intellectual argument: "My faith is based on reason" (Par 2) and "faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted" (Par 5). What about people who has no intellectual reasoning with Christianity before and just come to Christ by experience?
2. Lewis argues that it is moods (or imagination or desire) that usually take away / shaken our faith. What usually challenge your faith? When St Paul talks about "walk by faith and not by sight", how does our sight shaken our faith too (in connection to our mood)?

Chapter 12 - Faith
1. After reading this chapter, what do you think is the relationship between Old Testament and New Testament, or in other words, relationship between good actions and faith in Christ?
2. In paragraph 4, Lewis says to discover is to "really finding out by experience that it is true". How does experience help us to discover better in comparison to only knowing or understanding that it is true?