Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making Wise Decisions

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
- James 1:8

Have you ever tried to follow a leader or worked for a boss who tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next? Or tried to be involved with a person who could never make up their mind for what they wanted?

Christian or otherwise, these people can be crazy-making!

I have asked people many times in seminars or classes how many have a hard time making decisions? It always surprises me how many answer in the affirmative.

Why is making decisions difficult for many? Some are afraid they of making a wrong decision. Some simply don't know what they want. For quite a few when they were growing up, somebody else always made their decisions for them. Consequently, they were never taught how to make decisions for themselves or learned how to accept the consequences for the decisions they made.

However, as adults, it is much wiser to make our own decisions and be wrong rather than allow others to make them for us. One of the greatest ways we learn to make right decisions is by making wrong decisions!

To put off and end up not making decisions is making decisions by default which is not a creative way to live. Life is a series of decisions that determine the course of our life and future. It pays to learn how to make wise decisions. God has promised to give us wisdom and guidance to help us make wise decisions, but it's up to each of us to make our own decisions.

Suggested prayer:
Dear God, help me to face and overcome the cause/s of my fear of making decisions, learn to seek your help and guidance in everything I do, and in doing so learn how to make wise and responsible decisions. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen.

- Article from Today's Encounter

My Reflection

The above article catches my attention as I have been toying with an important decision in my mind for the last 2 weeks.

My bible reading tonight also reinforces the message in the above article on making decision...

8 I want to hear what God the Lord says, because he promises peace to his people, to his godly ones. But they must not go back to their stupidity. 9 Indeed, his salvation is near those who fear him, and {his} glory will remain in our land. Psalms 85:8-9 (GW)

When we take time to hear what God has to say, then we will not make stupid decisions. Yes the bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we make the right decisions in life, we will save ourselves from much troubles and heartaches.

For me, I seldom regret over the decisions I made in my life, though some of them are painful to carry out. I accept the consequences of my decisions and my conscience is clear. :D

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grieving Our Losses

Grieving Our Losses (from Today's Daily Encounter)

"Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted."
(Matthew 5:4)

When Jesus' friend, Lazarus, died, Jesus wept. When we experience loss and are sad, we need to do the same. When we bury and hide our grief, we hurt ourselves and distort reality. As Cecil Osborne wisely said, "Every unshed tear is a prism through which all of life's hurts are distorted."

In his book, Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On, Tim Dayton wrote, "If my unconscious carries a silent wound, I will always be black and blue inside. I will not be able to approach situations with open eyes for fear they will trigger that unfelt pain. The grief that I carry hidden in silence has great power over my life and my relationships.... Until I understand my grief and allow myself to know it, I will not be free of its grip."
Loss is a part of life. Grieving these is a process, not an event. There is no quick fix. Whatever emotions are involved--which can include confusion, anxiety and even anger--need to be felt, experienced and expressed in healthy ways, as well as the deep sorrow which needs to be wept or even sobbed out. Tears are God's gift to help drain the pain of deep grief and sorrow.

Furthermore, until I know how to weep with all my heart, I will never know how to love with all my heart either.

Jesus gives us a model to follow. And his words are true: "Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted."

"Suggested prayer:
"Dear God, help me to be connected to and honest with all my emotions and learn to express them in healthy, constructive ways. And help me to learn to grieve and mourn my losses and not be afraid to cry when I am truly sad. Thank you for the gift of tears as well as the gift of laughter. Help me to realize that both are equally important and healthy. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Grate fully in Jesus' name, amen."

My Reflection:

The above article reminded me of myself, my life. For a while, I seem to have no life? I have been very busy with work since May this year, and even more so during the last 2 months, to the extent that I have no time for myself and very little time for God too, except to read the bible before I sleep.

Perhaps that's a mask of grief. I realized that I didn't cry much over my loss, I didn't 'blame' anyone, I even faced the loss 'squarely' as if there isn't any pain.

Yes, can't grieve fully equals to can't love fully.... perhaps my heart has become somewhat stony? But it's a choice that I chose, I want it that way. At least I don't have to go through the cycle again and again, like what happened to the people I know. It's all chasing after the winds... except when we chase after God, the only Person who can love us fully.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Overcoming Loneliness

The article for Today's Daily Encounter, "Overcoming Loneliness" is one that is applicable to everyone, even if you think you have found your 'better half'. Read what it has to say....

"The LORD confides in those who fear [reverence] him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me!"(Psalm 25:14-19 NIV)

"Loneliness, it's such a sad affair" sang Karen and Richard Carpenter some years ago. Sad to say for Karen she was apparently singing exactly how she felt for, feeling unloved and lonely, she starved herself to death.

Probably most of us at one time or another know the painful pangs of loneliness. We were created for relationships and without sufficient love and human companionship we "limp along in the shadows of life" starving for human love, warmth and connection.

King David also knew what it was like to be lonely especially when he was on the run from King Saul who was desperately jealous of him and was seeking to kill him.

I know what it's like to be lonely, too--even when among friends--with that deep down feeling that leaves one feeling empty inside. My problem? Because of past hurts I was afraid to get too close to people for fear of being hurt again.

But I, too, sought the Lord in my loneliness and shared my fears, failures and insecurities with him and asked him to give me the courage to face the cause/s of my fear and to lead me to the help I needed to overcome them. I had personal issues to work on and resolve, and while it took time I've come a long way since then and am more open to love than ever before.

Suggested prayer:
"Dear God, thank you so much that you hear the cry of my heart when I reach out to you in my loneliness and pain. Help me always to be honest with myself and you and please give me the courage to face the cause/s of my loneliness, accept responsibility for what I need to do, and lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."


Friday, September 21, 2007

If You're Going to Have a Wedding

If you're going to have a wedding or planning one in the near future, please read the following article from Weekend Encounter.....

I have read how, years ago, when Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show, he interviewed an eight-year-old boy. The young man was asked to appear because he had rescued two friends in a coal mine outside his hometown in West Virginia. As Johnny
questioned the boy, it became apparent to him and the audience that the young man was a Christian. So Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday school. When the boy
said he did(,) Johnny inquired, "What are you learning in Sunday school?"

"Last week," came his reply, "our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine." The audience roared, but Johnny tried to keep a straight face. Then he said, "And what did you learn from that story?"

The boy squirmed in his chair. It was apparent he hadn't thought about this. But then he lifted up his face and said, "If you're going to have a wedding,make sure you invite Jesus!"

Source: Preaching Now

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Movie Review: The Secret

Surprisingly, I just came back from watching the movie, "The Secret", with someone. I have not watched any movie for a long time. I don't usually. What motivated me to watch was the piano skills of Jay Chow, the male lead in the show, others commneted. I used to like his songs, which are very soothing though I could hardly know what he is singing. ;)

Review by Daniel Ang
A duet on the piano, a ride on the bicycle, sharing an ice cream, watching the sun set together, these are little pleasures of life that we have seem to have forgotten in this modernized society. It is the kind of love that we all crave for and desire, which humans now are too uncomplicated to think about.

Review by CO's Re
It's in the music that you will find the soul of this movie. It's the music that crafts the emotions of the story - happiness, sadness, yearning, distress and even humour. It's the music that ultimately becomes the salvation of this movie. When the story line falters and when the the depth of the actors were lacking, the music comes through strong and fluid, sweeping you away and allowing you to forgive the shortcomings of Taiwanese pop sensation Jay Chou's directorial debut.

Review by Bee
The storyline was simple but I was enchanted by the piano pieces played by Jay Chow, the male lead (Lun). He is not a great actor and seemed reserved in the whole movie. Some plots are just not logical but the music makes me forget about all those short comings. It made me just want to 'fall in love' with the pianist. It's like a fairy-tale that brings you into a different world.

I don't mind watching it again.

My Afterthoughts:

The movie reminded me of my younger days, where I could easily 'fall in love' with any highly creative persons, such as musicians, artists, singers. Their looks or status aren't important to me. When I was still schooling, one of my ambitions was to be a musician too. I joined the school band and played well. I was made the leader of my instrument group. But my dream shattered one day, when I thought I could never hear anymore as a result of my sickness. My world seemed to collapse then. I even felt that dying was a better option for me than to live in total silence without hearing or making music anymore. Well, I am still alive because of the God I believed in. :)

Perhaps, those feelings may be a kind of 'puppy love', 'infatuation', or pure admiration for talented artists during my teen days. If the artist lose their hands and can't perform anymore, what is there left for me to love? That's not real love. It's a very shallow emotional attachment, a 'falling in love' with their talents, not their personality or character. It's like falling in love with the packaging without loving the content.

This is also true if we were to fall in love with external beauty. However, I discovered that most people don't mind changing boyfriend/girlfriend or even husband/wife once the external charm is gone. That's why there are so many breakups and divorces. Sad....

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