11/29/2012: Wong

11/29/2012: Wong

{S: 6:11am}  I just thought of her.  There is this girl named Wong.  She is a 14T, a Patriot missile control operator.  Back in advanced individual training (AIT), she was one of the shortest girls.  You should see her carry her M-16.  The weapon was almost taller than her!  It was so cute.

I was really nervous talking to her because I am really nervous talking to girls I like.  The few times I talked to her at the dining facility (DFAC), I learned, to my disappointment, that she only speaks Cantonese.

When I got to my unit after training, she was also in my same battalion.  One day, when I went to El Paso Chinese Baptist Church in late 2009, I saw her!  She talked to me and told me she has yeast infection.  I didn’t know what to say; I thought yeast infection came naturally.  I didn’t want to lose respect so I behaved all rationally and coldly.  I merely listened to her and went on my way.  I didn’t know it was probably a cry for help.

I met her a few weeks later, before I deployed to Kuwait.  She asked if I needed a ride to church.  I forgot how I responded but I remember that I hid my feelings from her.  I believe she got the impression that I don’t care about her anymore because of what she did.

Later, I found out through my ears that she had sex with five guys in one night.

I asked my church members about her after I returned from Kuwait and I think one or two of them remembered the description of the girl I was talking about.  They told me she went to Bible study before.  I talked to Waley about her and sometimes he told me he doesn’t know what I’m talking about and other times he remembered her.  But, he told me that “she just.. disappeared.”  I talked to soldiers in her battery and they told me she went to another base.  I tried to find her on online but I couldn’t.  That is the end of my contact with her.

Miriam, in the Pixar movie The Prince of Egypt, said that “they” which means the Egyptians, can take away their dignity and “even our lives,” but they cannot take away our spirit.  The Army, or to put it in a broader perspective, human beings, can take away almost everything: our dignity, our time, our freedom, our virginity, but they cannot take away, if we don’t allow them to, our spirit.

Like that “New York” song when “good girls” become “bad,” a girl has to be prepared to lose everything when she joins the Army, or anywhere where intense human natures flourish.  I almost lost everything in the Army but I was able to cling on to God.  Soldiers tell me that the Army is supposed to “break you down and then build you back up.”  Well, human nature, and I know from the Bible that it is inherently sinful, cannot be completely broken down except by Jesus Christ at the cross.  {E: 7:04am}

11/5/2012: Peace

11/5/2012: Peace

{S: 8:58pm}  I want to write but I don’t want to spend too much time writing.  Once my time is up, I will stop writing abruptly.

If stuttering is my outside problem, then lack of peace is my inner problem.  I worry so much, I get so nervous that sometimes I have trouble speaking.  I think aside from that, something is wrong with my Boca’s area (an area in the brain).  I started stuttering when I reached puberty.  Watchman Nee, a great evangelist in China, wrote that every physical problem also has its roots in a spiritual problem.  If leprosy is Naaman’s physical problem (2 Kings 5:10-5), then pride is his spiritual problem.

I didn’t want to go to church yesterday.  On Saturday, I was thinking under what conditions will I be able to go to church.  I didn’t want to go because I feel some of its members don’t want me there and because I feel powerless to change things.  Then I thought about bringing my cross.  The big wooden cross from Kuwait.

In the Army, the rifle is probably the most important piece of equipment a soldier can have.  I remember in basic training, sometimes I sleep with my rifle because I heard rumors that the drill sergeants stealthily steal the soldier’s weapon and then punish him for it.  Anywhere we soldiers go, our rifle goes with us.  Likewise, the reason why I go to church is because of Jesus, is because of the cross.  What comforted me and stilled my inner conflict is the idea of bringing my cross to church and treating it like my rifle.  If I am somehow too afraid to carry out this plan, my escape plan is to wear my green cross necklace which I also got from Kuwait and wearing it around my neck so people can see.  I want people and also myself to see that the reason why I come to church is because of Jesus.  If they ignore or ostracize me, I can always hug my cross like a doll.

Then, I thought of a better plan.  I can live my life with peace, peace that this world cannot give but only Jesus can give (John 14:27).  I realized that I don’t have peace, and thus, faith.  I worry too much, I always think I have to fight; to be an activist, that if I don’t fight or am passive, then things will change for the worse.  To be sure, as Christians, we do need to fight, but we fight under Christ’s orders.  God always knows everything and everything is under His control.  I will fight, but I need to fight with peace inside, knowing that our times and this world are in God’s hands.

As I am applying this concept in my life: that I shouldn’t worry so much because my times are in God’s hands (Psalms 31:15), I began to feel more carefree and relaxed.  I tell myself to speak slowly because then I will have more peace.  I don’t look at every little detail anymore because I will have more peace.  God already knows.  I focus on what is in my power and what I can control and change instead of worrying about everything because I will have more peace because God is in control.  I know that if I die, I still have eternal life.  {E: 9:50pm}

“乃縵啊, 乃縵, 如果大麻風是你身上的病, 那驕傲就是你心裡的病” (以利沙-睡夢鄉).

6/10/2011: 寶貴十架 / Precious Cross

6/10/2011: 寶貴十架 / Precious Cross

S: 4:28pm
E: 4:47pm

Today, while in the shower, I had a nosebleed. I haven’t had one in awhile. While looking at my red blood drop, I thought, my blood goes down the drain, but Jesus’ blood is infinitely precious. My blood may save a life, but Jesus’ blood can save mankind.

I first listened to this song, and most Stream of Praise songs, when I brought the albums and came back to Kuwait from Taiwan. I’m so glad I brought all the Stream of Praise albums. It is a life-saving blessing.

I cried when I listened to this song for the first few times. How wonderful that Jesus died for me! Though sinful I am and wicked, Jesus still died for me. How precious is His cross! How precious is salvation!

Precious corner, precious cross, but the precious cross is much more precious than my precious corner. I would listen to both of these songs, “Precious Cross” and “Precious Corner.”

Precious Cross
主耶穌 我感謝你
Thank you Lord, You died for me.
你的身體 為我而捨
With love, You gave Your life for me.
帶我出黑暗 進入光明國度
Brought me from darkness into the world of light.
使我再次能看見
Opened my eyes to see.

主耶穌 我感謝你
Praise You Lord, Your love for me.
你的寶血 為我而流
Your blood of grace flows over me.
寶貴十架上 醫治恩典湧流
Your tender mercy pours down from Calvary.
使我完全得自由
Your love has set me so free.

# 寶貴十架的大能賜我生命
The precious Cross, by its pow’r I am set free.
主耶穌我俯伏敬拜你
With my all, I worship at Your feet.
寶貴十架的救恩是你所立的約
Your saving grace, so secure in this promise of old.
你的愛永遠不會改變
It’s Your love unchanging for me.

1/23/2011: Better than them

1/23/2011: Better than them

S: 7:47pm

E: 8:33pm

I don’t know how to start this. People read what I write and people are concerned about first impressions. It’s like I know what to write but I don’t know how to disseminate the information. This is the gift of a teacher. A teacher knows stuff but he or she has to find a way to share the information so everyone else can understand as good as the teacher. Just as I’m trying to think how my former students think and process learning information, I’m trying to think of how to approach this. I’m glad when we go to heaven, time will not be a matter, so therefore, first impressions will not matter. I can spend infinity and infinity with everybody.

I just found out what an evil and wicked person I am. Of course I know that I’m evil and everyone is evil because we are born in sin, but I am just beginning to realize the extent of my sin and uncleanness. Knowing God is not a substitute for following God. I found this out the hard way. I can read so much about God, read the Bible, pray, love, etc, etc, but if I don’t follow Him, everything will go haywire. That no matter how much we know about God, we still cannot live righteously. The way to live righteously is to pick up our cross and follow God (Matthew 10:38). Knowledge about God cannot change sinful human nature.

This is where I failed yesterday. After a frustrating day of work, I came to my room and I’m glad I can finally detress and unwind with Sunday, a free day, ahead of me. There was nobody in our tent. I laid down on my bed and temptations came to me. This is your chance, my mind told me, there is nobody here. Nobody will know. I was tempted to check pornography. But then, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about the dangers of unwinding in God or in the world. I got up my bed and decided to write a discovery about my hardship when I was trying to sleep (but can’t) on Friday night and what I learned.

After writing about half-way, I had a need to use the latrine, so I went, took a dump, and came back. However, when I came back, my flesh won over. I thought screw it, I’m just going to check and relieve myself really quick. Nobody will know. Well, God will know, but He will be the judge. I have to; I can’t help myself. So I got out of bed, closed my half-written discovery without saving, and checked porn. Granted, I had a good time but I knew that short-term gain is not worth long-term pain. After that incident, my morals went downhill. I played computer games. Adult Japanese computer games. I did not eat dinner that night because I feel so afraid. Just as Adam hid in the bush after eating the forbidden fruit, I want to hide in my room and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. And that vicious cycle went on until today. When I realized that I’m not as good as a person I think I am.

I look at my battle buddies, fellow soldiers and they talk about sin openly. They talk about sex, girls, hate, they spread gossip, etc. They spend a lot of their time watching racy movies, some even porn movies. I know soldiers who have gigabytes of porn. I can’t believe it. They live on what feels good. I shun their behavior. I try to avoid them. I try to help them. But then, half an hour before I started writing this discovery, a realization came to my mind: That I am just as sinful, if not more sinful then they. The only thing that separates me from them is that I try to do good, that I try to follow God, that I have organized resistance against evil. I look at them and I’m glad I know and love God, that I’m not a “sinner or tax collector” (Matthew 9:11).

Matthew 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.

11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

So many times, I know I’m an evil person, I know that I sin (specifically, fall into temptation) all the time but at least I’m not that bad as them. I don’t talk about evil (much), I don’t watch porn movies, I don’t do these nasty things, but yet, I do them in the safety of my own room. I’m being like a Pharisee, too. I don’t’ do these evil things openly and I disapprove those who do and I try to help and pray for them, but yet, I myself do those things secretly. I heard from the Barnes Poll that a third of pastors check porn at least once a month. That’s shocking. Today, I discovered that knowing about God and experiencing Him is no substitute for following Him. I can know God, I can praise and say He has done wonderful things for me, but yet, if I chose not to follow Him, I am no better than a sinful and evil man. If I don’t follow God, I am no better than people living in the days of Noah.

And this is one reason why I’m so afraid and ashamed to be out with people. Because I feel so guilty and ashamed of my sins. Because I feel such a hypocrite.

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

After sinning against God, there are times when I want to “flee from his presence” (Psalm 139:6), yet, as the Psalmist wrote, no matter where I go, God will still be there. I cannot run, I cannot hide, I can only repent.

1/27/2010

I finally got internet again. Praise God! I really don’t know who I’m writing these notes to. Many times, I would have so much things to write about and say but when it comes to an opportunity, like this, I suddenly grow afraid. If God knows everything, why am I writing this? I think writing this is a good way for me to be connected to God’s family, but…. I might just keep my privacy settings to “only me” so facebook would be for myself and I won’t be afraid.

I am reading “21 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Dave Early (one of the books I brought at the PX). I am currently at reason number 8, but reading this book so inspires me and it touches my heart. Many of the reasons why bad things happen to good people pertains to me. I began to understand formally why suffering is such a good thing. Before, in basic and AIT, I suffered everyday harshly, yet, it was during those times when I was close to God. Now, I’m also suffering everyday. Yes, everyday is a life-threating day for me, yet, I have faith, and with faith, I am happy. I praise God that I can be happy, to smile, under harsh conditions. When my platoon had extra things to do, I wasn’t angry, many soldiers in my platoon are, but I wasn’t. I was at peace and content because I know God is watching over me. I know God knows and feels my pain. I am happy to know that I have an intercessor whom I can turn to. God knows pain because Jesus felt the ultimate pain by dying on the cross for our sins.

I must have more faith. Everyday is a day of faith. Everyday requires me to have faith. Faith to live my life to the fullest knowing that God is taking care of me. During my early days in this unit, the one fruit I kept focusing on is patience, is endurance. I had to learn to endure the harshness of life, to just trust in God. I believe now, it’s about faith. I must have faith that no matter what happens, God is in control.

Like today. Yesterday, our platoon did heavy work and most of us were tired and grumbling. I think they shouldn’t grumble. They are much stronger physically than me. When I start to grumble, it is for real. I feel ready to give up. I really feel pain, but I refuse to let others know. I’m afraid what might happen to me if I express my weaknesses. They may misjudge me. The only person that needs to know my pain and my weaknesses is God. Now today, our platoon had to help others out, since we got ours done early. I felt tired and stressed out. Many soldiers in my platoon were also grumbling too. I kept saying to God, “Lord, I love you and you are my God, but this is just too hard/much for me.” I cried and asked God to help me. I refuse and cannot blame God. It’s not his fault, it’s mine because I am just so weak. It was during that time when things became better. I was able to find time to rest in my room (legally because everyone else thinks I’m still at a meeting) and I was able to get internet again from a soldier in my platoon. Three weeks before deployment and he still chooses to order internet? I don’t understand, but, praise God. I was able to update ALL my 睡夢鄉 (Land of Dreams) Chinese children Christian song into youtube. Hey, I promised to post at least one song per day, but since I didn’t have internet, I was making Christian videos all the time. I still have a few select Land of Dream storybooks to upload. Wow, it is such a wonderful pleasure to be able to do God’s work. It is such a blessing. I feel so happy listening to the songs of my youth, but happier still, that I’m able to share them. I received an e-mail telling me that the particular series wasn’t available in Singapore. Praise God.

So please, if you can understand Chinese, visit carbon191’s channel (me) and listen to some Chinese Christian children songs. They are wonderful.

I am still very weak, but God is helping me everyday. I want to suffer now. Suffering is a good thing because it draws me closer to God. It develops my character. It makes me a more mature Christian. It allows me to grow. God is near the broken-hearted. Amen. By saying I want to suffer, that’s wrong. I don’t want to suffer, but if suffering allows me to be a better Christian, than so be it. As long as God is watching me, even though at times, it may not seem so, I want to say that I am willing to suffer.