4/26/2012: Inception / Spiritual War

4/26/2012: Inception / Spiritual War

S: 9:00pm
E: 10:06pm

I was reading my Bible according to my Bible reading plan (I’m trying to finish reading the Bible ASAP) when I suddenly thought of a discovery. It makes sense now. Why do wars and social breakdowns happen?

If anyone loses the spiritual war, then there will be a social war. If they lose the social war, and without God, they will lose it; it’s just a matter of time, there will be a physical war. I feel like our nation (the United States) is in a spiritual and social war. We, as a nation, are losing the spiritual war and that is why we are in a social war. There are public debates about everything moral, from family breakdowns to divorces (half of all marriages end in divorce), cheating, abortion, gay rights, etc. Once we lose the social war, the physical war is next. There will be chaos. There will be no safe place.

Consider the ancient kingdom of Israel. First, Israel rejected God by worshiping foreign idols. They lost their spiritual war. Next, came social breakdown. There is strife and injustice in that nation.

He answered me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.’ Ezekiel 9:9

Ancient Israel, after losing their spiritual war, took advantage of orphans and widows. They took advantage of the poor (Isaiah 1:16-17). What happened next? God pronounced judgment on that nation.

So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.” Ezekiel 9:10

The Assyrians came and conquered the Northern kingdom of Israel. The Babylonians came and conquered the Southern kingdom of Judah. Physical war came to them and they lost. They lost because they, as a people, lost the spiritual war.

This war is kind of like the movie Inception, but the other way around. Once their deepest dreams become a nightmare, the shallower dreams, and eventually their consciousness became a nightmare.

The Bible tells us to always fight in the spiritual front. Even if that war is lost for a people or nation, we are to still try and not give up.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him for his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness… he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. Ezekiel 4:17-19

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

We are to fight only in the spiritual realm and not in the social or physical realms because without victory in the spiritual realm, fighting in the other two fronts are useless. That is why the Crusades are wrong. And that is also why trying to legislate Christianity into our Government is wrong. The Bible clearly says God gave us free will and we cannot change people through laws and regulations. We can only change people by changing their spirit.

I was having difficulty looking for a picture that can enhance my article. The best picture I can think of is a scene from the Chinese movie Hero when Nameless (Jet Li) and Long Sky were fighting each other in their minds while an elderly musician played the guqin.

The spiritual front is not visible to the naked eye but it is the one most important. Once Long Sky lost the mental battle, Nameless was able to move in and defeat him.

——

4/27/2012
E: 8:53am

Update: In my rush to post this article, I forgot one important point. Towards the end of Jesus’ life on earth, he told his disciples to buy swords:

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”
“The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That is enough,” he replied.
(Luke 22:35-36,38)

However, when Peter tried to use it to protect Jesus, even though Jesus already given himself up as prophesied, Jesus told Peter to put the sword back:

“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!” (John 18:8, 10-11).

“For all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels. But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

I think there is an important point to be made here. Although there were eleven disciples with Jesus, he told them two swords are enough. With two swords, it’s hard to go on the offense. I think what this means is as Christians, it is ok to defend ourselves socially and physically, but it is not ok to go on the offense. Peter went on the offensive because Jesus had already given himself up. If the soldiers tried to attack His disciples, I’m sure it would be okay for the disciples to fight back.

We need to have the wisdom to know what is attacking and what is defending. In many developing countries, there is no freedom. Christianity is forbidden. In those cases, we have the right to defend. We need to fight for freedom and equality for them. However, in the United States, we already have the right to practice our religion and exercise our beliefs. If they are attacking our freedom to practice our religion, we can then fight back.

5/11/2012: Update

I just talked to my pastor about the gay and lesbian rights issue and, being open to the truth, I am beginning to find that I am in the wrong. Yes, we need to love them, to teach them what is right, but, we cannot let them pass legislation to legalize their status as equal to a male-female marriage. We cannot let them because the Bible clearly says its wrong and, as for free will, they already have the choice to make that lifestyle. Legalizing this will not only affect them, but us too. What would our children think if they saw this kind of behavior?

My pastor reminded me, and I know this as well, that the Bible is either black or white. It is either right or wrong; there is no gray area. By legislating this issue, we are blending the colors, we are compromising what God says with the world. We still have to love them, to teach them, but we cannot let that equal marriage amendment pass because it would affect our future as well.

5/23/2011: The dangers of false predictions

5/23/2011: The dangers of false predictions

S: 7:56pm
E: 8:44pm

Few months ago, when I was still in Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, I read the Army newspaper titled something like “End of the World.” It caught my attention so I flipped to that section and began to read it. It says that the world is going to end on May 21, 2011. I saw other soldiers reading the same page and I wondered if the world really is going to end. I know, intuitively, that we are living in the end times and that Jesus is coming back within my lifetime, however, is it this soon?

As the predicted Judgment Day comes closer and closer, I began to be a bit afraid, and I did some research to find out whether that day is correct. It was inconclusive, but I felt that it is unlikely for Jesus to come on May 21. What about the Arab-Russian invasion of Israel (Ezekiel 38:2-23)? What about the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3)? What about the one-world government and money system (Rev. 13:7,8)? What about the mark of the beast on the unbeliever’s foreheads (Rev. 13:16)? What about the two hundred million army from the kings of the East (Rev. 9:16)? What about the “abomination that causes desolation?” (Matthew 24:15).

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said that “no one knows about that day or hour… but only the Father.” How then can man know? I looked to their website http://worldwide.familyradio.org/en/ and they claimed that a secret book in Daniel (Daniel 12:4,9) was sealed until the time of the end. And though that book, and various calculations and assumptions, they managed to find the date.

Some soldiers, before the Judgment Day, asked me if it really is going to happen. They know I’m spiritual and they asked me for advice. I told them that although I cannot give a definite answer, most likely, it is not going to happen. But, I told them that what’s more important than knowing when is to be prepared. Are you prepared for the end? It’s sad that these soldiers say, “no, I’m not prepared, but it’s too late for me.” Some soldiers say that the predicted day is just a scam; that it will just be like the Y2K scare. Thus, I want to describe the dangers of a false prediction:

1) Unbelievers may think that the Bible is wrong.

The Bible is never wrong. It is some misguided Christians who are wrong. By boldly proclaiming a date in God’s name and for it not to come true, they become false prophets. People don’t see that. They see it as Christianity is wrong, that the Bible is wrong in the end times. One of the soldiers loudly said, “Jesus is wrong!” It hurts for me to hear these words but they were tricked. They were told by Christians that the world is going to end and it didn’t happen.

2) Unbelievers may increase their wickedness just before the end

It was Friday, May 20 2011, the last day before the supposed end will come. I heard remarks from soldiers that “the world is going to end anyways. I might as well party and have some fun before the end.” Instead of using the end date as a reason to be saved, they will use it as an excuse to be more wicked. I heard everything from soldiers going to wild parties and getting drunk, to having sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. If more false predictions come, non-believers will not take these end dates seriously and will just use that as an excuse to sin more.

3) It will be harder to convert people to Christ

To non-believers, this will just be another reason why not to be a Christian. Why? Because they are wrong. It never happened. The Bible is full of errors and mistakes. It is written by man, not God. It’s very sad that one of the side-effects of well-intentioned Christians proclaiming a false date is a more stony ground to sow seeds for Christ.

It is very dangerous for Christians, or anyone, to prophesize something and be wrong. It hurts the gospel; it hurts everyone involved. It is better not to say anything than to say something falsely. That is why the Bible gives false prophets the punishment of death (Deuteronomy 18:22).

5/15/2011: Deeper and Further in

5/15/2011: Deeper and Further in

S: 9:13pm
E: 9:35pm

I realized that as I grow more mature in my Christian walk, I have a crazy way to deal with conflict with other people.

Instead of avoiding or trying to fight against my oppressors, I tend to want to be closer to them. Sure, I do feel hate, but hatred for their actions and not the person. The more I feel opposition or resistance, the more I want to jump in and go into them, the more I want to talk to them, to show them that I’m not an evil person, but a person with a heart of love.

I am spending way too much time on Erepublik, a fictional online game where you become a citizen of your country and fight for it. I love Israel, so I spent so much time on it.

Maybe the story of how I got my eIsraeli citizenship can describe my God-given way of how I deal with conflict.

I’ve always wanted to go into Israel. I find that the more I love God, the more I love Israel. When the game implemented the economic changes, and I found myself out of work, I used that opportunity to move to eIsrael. I quickly found work, talked to other citizens, and applied for citizenship. A few days later, a eCongress member messaged me asking why I want an eIsraeli citizenship. I told him the truth, which I love God and would love to help defend eIsrael. He starting questioning my intentions and asked if I’m there to destroy his country. Any normal worldly person would have cussed him out or given up. However, I used godly wisdom and told him that he has a reason not to believe what I say; that words are hollow. I told him, however, that God will be my judge and restated my desire for citizenship:

“Nothing that I, or anyone, say can be proven. Words are hollow in this day and age. You just have to believe that what I’m saying is true and with God as my judge, what I’m saying is true.

“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill” (Psalms 137:5).

Citizenship or not, I plan to defend eIsrael against all enemies. If I do choose to work (I’m thinking of being a trader), I will work in eIsrael.

Maybe only time can tell. If that’s the case, then let time tell.”

At this point, I even messaged the ePrime Minster of Israel, asking for citizenship. I also went to Erepubik support and asked if there is a way to become a citizen of another country without deleting my account.

The more I feel opposition and resistance against my desires, the more involved and courageous I become. And this morning, I went onto the game and guess what? I got eIsraeli citizenship! I was so happy.

However, now I have another problem. I tried to go on IRC into the eIDF fourms but when I went on just to test if it works, they immediately kicked me out. Well, at least I know it works. I feel anger burning inside me again. Again, I need to make a drastic decision. I went on the IRC support forums to learn more about IRC, since it’s my first time using it, and I messaged the eCongress member who gave me citizenship (the one who gave me a hard time) about the problem. Like in Narnia, I want to go deeper and further in.

Another drastic step I can take is to just delete my account and stop playing Erepubik. I am already spending so much time on it and not enough time reading the Bible or on God. I already know that everything else is dross compared to God. It is godly wisdom that enables me to make big, drastic decisions. It is my faith in God that enables me to have strength, courage, and wisdom.

1/30/2011: Defense for the Egyptian People

1/30/2011: Defense for the Egyptian People

S: 2:49pm

E: 3:20pm

One thing that is bothering me a lot is the situation in Egypt. I cannot write to my full potential because I’m busy with Star Kingdoms and I’m off to play a Risk game soon, but I will spend lots and lots of time in prayer for the Egyptian people.

A dictator in power for 30 years refuses to listen to the people’s demands for him to step down. He has been accused of rigging elections, causing massive poverty, unemployment, violating human rights, and political corruption. And yet, he is still in power, why? Because President Hosni Mubarak is a key US ally. I see world dictators like Kim Jong Il or the late Saddam Hussein and I wonder why these evil people are still in power. Well, Hussein was eliminated due to US interests. After learning more about God, human nature, nations, and by watching the movie Zeitgeist (although I don’t agree with everything they say), I realized some world leaders are here and some are not because they depend on the interest of powerful nations.

I had a very innocent view of the United States. I thought they were the peacemakers, the global policeman, and a powerful force for human rights. But, not anymore. The Egyptian people are crying out against oppression just like the Hebrew slaves in the book of Exodus.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21).

Hosni Mubarak is already blessed to be a ruler, yet, instead of serving God and people and helping the world, which is what rulers should do; he oppresses them and chose to “store up things for himself.”

The United States did not stop him because he cooperates with the US. The US fell to temptation and failed to uphold God’s moral standard. Because of this, the US is also guilty of oppressing people.

Proverbs 29:13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.

America is guilty because the nation, which is so blessed by God, chose not to follow God but to follow herself. America chose self-preservation over God’s protection. She chose to trust in “horses and chariots” but not in the “name of the LORD [her] God” (Psalm 20:7). Look at Israel’s history. With God, 1 man can kill a thousand with a jawbone. With God, 300 men can defeat an army of 135,000. With God, all things are possible.

And this is why the Egyptian riots happened. This is why many other nations are challenging America’s status as a superpower.

 

Judges 2:20 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me,

21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died.

22 I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.”

When the Israelites violated God’s covenant by failing to follow God, He left a few enemies, namely the Philistines, to test them. And God is raising other nations to test us. Will America choose to follow God or to follow her own ways? Will she choose the way of life or the way of destruction?

1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

S: 11:38pm

E: 1:56pm

Due to my lack of preparedness on January 23, I was unprepared for guard. I woke up with just barely enough time to eat beef sausage and bread, pack necessary items, do some hygiene, dress up, and leave. I planned to wake up with barely enough time because I slept late last night so I needed as much rest as I can get before I start my 24-hour guard duty.

I then found out that today, is the last day that 3-43 has guard and it has to be me! Someone else came to us believing he had guard but according to our roster, he didn’t. I considered offering to pay him for taking my shift but the soldiers around me convinced me not to. I’m on the roster and it’s our last guard shift.

It’s not just the physical side that is hard, but the emotional and spiritual side as well. Throughout the day I was tired and I tried to take bits of rest by closing my eyes. One of the soldiers, V, would always harass me by jumping to conclusions. After living with him for almost a year, I can see that he is prideful, arrogant, but also has a good heart and intentions.

He would say, “Wake up, Yeh!” when I wasn’t really sleeping. My eyes were half-closed. I don’t like how he jumps to conclusions without knowing everything. I don’t like how he judges people, not just me but everybody else, based on the limited knowledge he knows. God knows everything; let God be the Judge.

Throughout the day, he would accuse me by making assumptions without looking at the whole evidence. When they were talking questionable sexual things in the evening, V would say, “Earmuffs Yeh!” “I don’t want to damage your innocence!” He assumes I can’t handle what they are talking about but I can. I’ve listened and interacted to their racy conversations many times while also trusting in God. There are also other times, but I forgot. He would say things to provoke me (by making untrue assumptions) and force me to defend myself. After a whole, angered, I would say, “Let God be the Judge.” I told V that he doesn’t know everything, that his accusations are not true or lack other major elements. Once when he was walking outside while opening the gate, I told him privately, “V, you need to stop trusting in yourself and start trusting in God.” I can see from almost a year’s experience that he always trusts in himself and his own strength. I was a bit afraid to tell him that but I’m trying to help him and if me saying this can change him for the better in the future, it will be worth it. He looked at me surprised and replied, “Yeh, I cannot trust in God. I have to trust in myself. If I rely on God, he’s not going to help me all the time.” I think I told him that if he chose to follow Jesus, God will help him all the time.

All the judging and false accusations from my three battle buddies made me upset. When guarding the site (and the first time I actually have live weapons), I would not talk to them. I feel angry and upset and if I do try to defend myself, they will just twist my words and accuse me again. Wisdom came to me and I realized silence is the best answer. Every time they hurt me, I would angrily pray and ask God to judge them. I also asked Him to judge me too but reminding him that I want his mercy and love rather than his justice because “no one living is righteous before you” (Psalms 143:2).

Out of anguish, I would take my pocket Bible out and read the psalms and pray and sing regardless if other soldiers noticing me. I remember a quote from C.S. Lewis saying, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

That is so true. I find that I seek God the most when I’m in pain or when life is hard. I prayed and asked God that if that’s the case, then please make my life hard so I can be with You.

Eventually, my anger would subside and I would tactfully talk to them again, knowing that I need to be like Jesus.

A serious event happened later in the night. Since I was so tired, I slept, along with another soldier (who also didn’t sleep well last night). Midnight chow came and two of the soldiers, there were four of us total, went to eat chow, leaving just V and me. While looking for traffic, I accidently dosed off and a car came. V saw it and we quickly went outside to open the gate. When I came back in the guard shack, he was very upset at me. He told me that I should not be tired, that I have plenty of sleep (while he stayed up all night), and that if I’m tired I should take a walk or pour water on my face. He also made many accusations and judgments on me that are incomplete. When I tried to tell the “truth,” he accused me of making excuses. When I told him that I really can’t stay up, that I’m really tired, he told me he doesn’t want to argue with me anymore. If I were to close my eyes again, he would force me outside the shack. I said I too, agreed with him that I don’t want to argue or make excuses. I just want to put out the truth. The truth is, I can walk outside and stay up if I have to, but the limits of my endurance have been reached. I refuse to suffer anymore. I already suffered so much physically (doing guard), emotionally (their verbal attacks and judging), and spiritually (constantly praying and asking God for help and vindication). I also told him that I’m stressed out because I have two jobs: being a soldier and serving God. He told me I need to meet the SOP (standard operating procedures) which states that I cannot sleep. I told him that the Bible is above the SOP, but the Bible does state to submit to authorities (Titus 3:1). I tried to tell him the truth. I sat back down and then went outside for some water.

Then suddenly, it hit me. I have been saying I’m sick and tired of suffering. That I hate how my life is so hard. Then I remembered what the Bible says about how much suffering is enough.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:4  ).

I cried out to God and asked Him to forgive me. That is the Biblical standard for suffering. In my suffering, I haven’t even come close to shedding blood. I realized that I must be willing to endure and suffer so much more. I realized how weak I am. I must be willing to suffer for Jesus, not so I will lose my petty comfort, but to the point of losing blood. That is hard suffering and that is what the Bible teaches us to endure to.

I stayed outside and walked around, happy that I finally knew what the Biblical standards are. The humvee came back but I continue to stay outside. I washed my eyes with water because it was stinging me. Later, V told me to come back in but “stay awake.” I told him I prefer to be outside.

Oh, and for dinner, thanks to another soldier’s help, we got Chinese and Korean food! I got, along with my SOG (sergeant of the guard), kimchee and rice. The kimchee was very spicy, however, but I ate a lot of rice. Yummy!

After that awakening, that I need to adhere to the Biblical standard of suffering, the rest of the day improved. I did not try to find an easy way out, but I contributed and helped clean the guard area up. Today is the last day our battalion has guard duty. We have to make sure the area is presentable.

Everything went well until near the very end of our shift. That is my second serious incident. We (the guards) found out that 1-44, the battalion replacing us, were not informed of their guard duty. They were simply told they were shadowing us. That means there is a possibility that we have guard again, a 48-hour shift. All of us were upset. To make the long story short, the SOG for 1-44 decided to do the changeover (praise God) but we still had to wait for another sergeant from Echo company to be their shadow SOG. While we are waiting, I proposed many ideas. I said why not two of us take the bus and the other two take the humvee? I began to complain, internally. I thought about what to say to my relay sergeant. I need to prepare and know the approach and words so I might get tomorrow’s PT off. I really want free time. I wanted to scream, or just take off in the humvee because I was upset at our battalions lack of organization in this matter.

I also had a debate with P, another soldier and I did cry and show my tears because I wanted to change them for the better. But after much arguing, I realized what Watchman Nee wrote: “It is not a life changed but exchanged.” V and P were telling me that they believe I want everyone in this world to be like me. I told them, initially, sadly due to my defensive nature, that I didn’t. That everyone is created with an image of God and we need to “shine the light that God gave us.” I admitted, later, that I did act as if everyone should be like me and everyone else not like me is wrong, evil, etc. They accused of being a hypocrite and I did admit it. But, I told them that we all make mistakes, that we are all sinners, and that we all need Jesus.

I have been telling V throughout our guard shift that he needs to “change.” He needs to change his pride, arrogance, tenidency to judge, etc, but I realized all my efforts were in vain. Because they cannot change themselves. According to Watchman Nee, human beings cannot their evil human nature. In order to change a person, that person needs to be exchanged with Christ. I admitted my mistake to V and P and told them not to change, but to exchange your life with Jesus.

However, V told me if I am happy. After some thinking, I told them that I’m not happy (“not as happy as I should be” would be closer to the truth). Then V went on to say the reason why I’m not happy is because I’m too focused on God. That I need to put myself first (not God) and enjoy the pleasures of the world. Then, according to him, I will be happy.

Seeing these two soldiers having a serious discussion with me made me feel like I’m Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress. I told V that I understand his viewpoint, but I feel the answer to happiness is not found there. The answer to happiness is found in letting Christ live instead of me.

Throughout the conversation, I kept mentioning Bible and they told me to stop mentioning it. Not everyone believes in the Bible, they told me. But I told them that the Bible is the bedrock of my life. P thinks the Bible is just a good teaching book, but it is more than that, it is a manual to life. That conversation eventually developed to me not using any spiritual arguments, that I can only make logical ones. That, I told them, is misleading. The human being is made up of the spirit, soul, and body. The spirit is above the soul, therefore, the spirit should be dominant. I told them there is an unseen world; a spiritual world, and that the Bible says the unseen is greater than the seen. V and P asked me again and again do I love God more or my mom? I told them that I love God more because I must love God much more than I love my mom or dad or brothers and sisters (Matthew 10:31). They told me who help me more, God or my mom. They obviously wanted me to say “my mom,” but I told them that, ultimately, God helps me much more.

Lastly, we argued that if God is omnipotent, then does God know what choices we choose beforehand? I told P no because if he does know completely beforehand, then God will not be a good god but an evil one. If God knew Eve is going to be deceived in the Garden of Eden and all mankind will suffer the penalty for sin, He would not have created us. God gave us free will to chose whether to follow Him or not. Yes, God knows us much more than anybody else, even ourselves, but he doesn’t know 100% what our next actions will be. This is where P and me disagreed and I tried to find scriptural proof, but was mostly unable to.

Psalms 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

God knows our potential and what we could be if we follow God to be used by Him, but to say that he always knows every action that we will perform ahead of time is untrue. If that is true, then God may not be a good God because then he knew all the evil and suffering that will come as a result. I need to continue to grow more in God and perhaps ask for some help to find out more. That is about the extent of our discussion. I then used the latrine again and decided to sleep inside the humvee.

As I was sitting in the humvee thinking about the conversation, and how angry I am about the guard changeover and what to do about it, another thought came in, from heaven, and it told me to “give it all to God.” In my first serious incident, I learned that I need to be able to suffer and endure more, to the point of shedding blood. However, in this second event, I realized that God is in control of everything, that there is nothing I can do to change it. I must trust in God and let Him be in control. Whatever happens, I must “give it all to God.” So I began to repeat “give it all to God” over and over in my mind. Slowly, I began to feel peace. I began to feel happy and at ease. God is in control of everything. Why am I worrying? Give it all to God. I fell into a peaceful sleep.

When I woke up, I knew that I’m still in the humvee, but I’m not upset because I already gave all my angry and bitter feelings to God. I find that once I give my hurt and negative feelings to God, I feel free. I used the latrine again and decided to listen to a 睡夢鄉 (Land of Dreams) bedtime stories. I don’t know why, but I decided to listen to 好姊姊米利暗 (Good Miriam) because I felt Moses calling me. I closed my eyes and deeply listened to the children bedtime story. Listening to it made me so thankful of what God had given me. The narrator, Auntie Choi, began the story of Moses by saying the Israelites in Egypt were prosperous. Pharaoh was afraid that the Hebrew people might start an uprising so he subjected them to hard labor.

Exodus 1:10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites

13 and worked them ruthlessly.

14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

However, the more the Hebrews suffered, the more prosperous they became. Hearing that gave me encouragement. It is like a God-given answer to suffering. It teaches me not to be afraid, that God is in control, and that God can use my suffering to benefit me even more. I got to the part where the counselors advised Pharaoh to kill every male child. I can hear the babies’ crying and the mother’s screaming. It felt so real and I felt so sad.

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. –Jewish Proverb

Then, I saw my SOG and P come and say it’s time to go. Happily, I put away my mp3 player and started to leave.

I learned so much about suffering today. One, that I need to suffer to the Biblical standard which is to the point of shedding blood, and two, to “give it all to God.”

睡夢鄉- 39 好姊姊米利暗

 

Sing and Smile and Pray by Sofia Tsatalbasidis

 

Sing the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and sing and sing you’ll sing the clouds away.

 

Smile the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you smile and smile and smile you’ll smile the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Pray and pray and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

That’s the only way.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Sing and smile and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Sing_and_Smile_Sofia_Tsatalbasidis

12/16/2010: The Ten Commandments

S: 6:23pm

E: 6:44pm

I don’t have a lot of time but I really wanted to write this so I won’t lose my thoughts. I am a little over half-way done watching The Ten Commandments. I promised a soldier that I will watch it when I was on guard but, until now, never did. He kept reminding me and bothering me until I finally promised him (I already promised him that I will watch it) that I will watch it tonight. Well, night came and I didn’t watch it. That was awful of me. I can’t believe I broke a promise. For me, I have my own timetable. I promised him that I will watch the movie, but it will be on my timing, and I would like to say that my timing is dependent on God’s. I simply didn’t feel the urge to watch the movie. Until now, until today. The soldier came and told me, “Yeh, if you don’t watch the movie and give me a review of it by tomorrow, I will beat you up..” Wow, what words. So, out of fear, I finally watched it.

And it was wonderful. It was great. One thing I feel I want to teach to everyone. God made Moses a prince of Egypt. If Moses wanted to, he can easily be Pharaoh. Moses eventually knew his fate and his upbringing. One may ask, why don’t become Pharaoh and use his human position and power to “let my people go?” The answer is not easy to accept, but God has his own plan to set his people free. It is not by human power or strength that the Lord saves, but through His will. Moses chose not to serve man or anything of man, including his nation, but he chose to follow God’s leading. Moses chose to follow the heavenly kingdom.

I am currently reading The Invisible War by Chip Ingram and he tells me that there is an unseen world, a spirit world. Thanks to Bible stories he tells, I know that the unseen is greater than the seen. When Elisha was surrounded by Aram’s armies, he told his servant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). What was he doing? Can’t he see the obvious? It turns out that he is seeing the obvious. When his servant’s eyes were opened, he saw the unseen armies of God. The armies of Aram were blinded, led like sheep to Israel’s army, and destroyed.

Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

Jesus is the Son of God and Christ of God. He, at his power, can summon up heavenly armies to destroy the mob that was going to capture Him, but He chose not to follow His will, but His Father’s just as Moses chose to follow God’s plan instead of his plan.

The book reaffirms me that the unseen world and the spirit world is real. There is a cosmic battle between good and evil, and although good has already won, evil is still fighting a losing battle. We might put on the whole Armor of God to fight and take a stand.

Help me Lord, to live by faith and to believe on what is unseen. Help me not to be drawn by the things of this world but by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:12).

It is very easy for anyone, since we are born in the flesh, to focus on what is seen. To focus on pleasure, looks, comfort, material things, and the splendor of this world, but God is asking us to put faith on what is unseen. To put faith on His son, Jesus, to put on “righteousness as [our] clothing” (Job 29:14), and to put on the whole Armor of God. God took away all Job had but because he placed his trust in what is unseen, in God, God gave him everything back and more. When we pray or do spiritual things, we must do them without regard of earthly consequences. God has His own time, He has His own plan, and He knows it all.

看見復興 by 讚美之泉

我們是你的百姓

主你是我們的神

用讚美打開城門

來預備你救恩的道路

 

呼喊吧  神的百姓  呼喊吧

耶和華已將這城交給我們

讓讚美的聲音不停息

如同大水淹沒仇敵

呼喊吧  神的百姓  呼喊吧

耶和華已將這城交給我們

讓讚美的聲音不歇息

直到我們看見復興

Wow, I feel like a fool. I thought the chorus meant, “Bu hai pa (Don’t be afraid).” Oops, but oh well. It’s hard to make promises. Today, I promised God that I will spent at least 2 hours on Him and it has to be my firstfruits of my time. Acutally, it was the rest of today, but I changed it to 2 hours because I knew I couldn’t keep it. Shortly after that, our section got off! I went to my room and started reading Chip Ingram’s book, but shortly, I found myself thinking of doing other things. Near the end of the first hour, I placed my chair (I was sitting while reading) back in front of my laptop and was going to go on OkCupid when my sergeant came and told me to follow him. Wow! I followed him, in shock and asking God’s forgiveness. He went to Davis’ area and told us there is some additional work to do. During our short break for lunch, I went back to my room and prayed, asking God for forgiveness. I knew this was from Him. I broke my promise. I sat down on my chair, trying to squeeze in some sleep when I decided to listen to some 讚美之泉 (Stream of Praise) music. The first song I listened to, at random was the song above. It gave me strength to not give up and continue to follow God. I mess up, I’m weak, but I must still “get up and win the race.” Shortly after that, some guys came in and told us if we give him the keys they can do our job for us. Overjoyed, we gave him the keys and I get to spend my first full hour for God (added 30-minute penalty). That song lifted my spirit up and gave me strength to continue to trust in Him and not give up.

PS: I actually chose that album because the cover has a green leaf on it and since my last name 葉 means leaf… oh well.

12/12/2010: My Narnia

12/12/2010: My Narnia

S: 8:51pm

E: 9:54pm

I want to write, but when I write after delaying what I want to write, it gets hard to write, nevertheless, I must still write.

I am now in Camp Beauring with two other soldiers doing a security detail. On that day, a battery organization day, our battery did a day of sports. We played softball, football (although I also want capture the flag), dodgeball, and three point shootout. I was wearing my light green T-shirt that says: “WWW (World Wide Wickedness), URL (Under Redeemers Love), HTML (He Transformed My Life). Haha, I’m guessing people might think I’m a hacker or something wearing that shirt. I did my best and did well by my standards. I got a home run, assisted a touchdown (though I missed catching numerous footballs, such a disgrace to my team), did decent in dodgeball, and got two three-pointer shots out of fifteen (the wind was blowing hard and the highest record was a five or a four, needless to say, I didn’t make it to the finals). When I saw people shooting the basket, and seeing the highest at that time was a two, I was very surprised. The last time I played that game, I shot a four. But, I never knew how hard it was to shoot with the wind until I actually tried it. After that, we retired to lunch (pizza, KFC, Subway, chips, sweets, etc) and after our repast, I played Risk with four other players. I was conceited at first, but as the game went on, I was humbled. I found out I was in danger of being the first player to be wiped out! I just want to say there are many circumstances outside my control that I can’t do anything about. I tried to hold on to Africa (they give 3 armies), but player after player prevented me. Then, I turned in my multi-card and surprised everyone with 13 armies to place. Haha, but my joy was short-lived. I decided to attack the strongest player in the game, since the other player who controlled South America, had a secret alliance with him, but I didn’t know at that time. I attack South America and after conquering it, attacked Mexico. I only had two armies in Mexico after I attacked so I moved one back to Venezuela. Well, Sgt. Frese took back N. America, Hudson, his secret ally, took the rest of Africa and Brazil, and I was almost knocked out of the game had I made a few diplomatic deals to Sgt. Frese and Hudson to let me take S. America and I’ll leave them alone. The game continued and, in the end, after wiping all the players except those three, Hudson attacked me and they both won. Stange things is, towards the very end of my game, I decided to roll one dice at a time because rolling both was giving me bad luck. The first dice I rolled for the next ten times was a 6. That is very strange, impossible I thought. I got a six even when I’m secretly trying not to get a six because I want to give God the glory. When I got up and decided to roll one dice at a time, I was trying to have faith and trust in God. I was upset of their secret alliance.

Now that I’m thinking about it, if I roll a six every time, I can never lose the game. That was what I was thinking when battling against Hudson with 15 vs. 35+ of his. In the end, he attacked with two armies (I think) versus one of mine in Argentina and I lost. I also think this is why Israel never loses if God is with her armies. Israel will always roll a six with God! She can never lose. This is why I love Israel, because God is on her side. I love Israel because God loves Israel. Of course God loves all the nations too, but Israel is his chosen nation where he first revealed himself to men. It can be 100 vs. 1 but if God is with Israel, that 1 army can defeat 99 of the enemies’.

Judges 15:16 Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”

I was excited but tired when I came back to my bay. Shortly afterwards, I was told to go to Camp Bearing and to be ready in 20 minutes. What a rush! But, luckily, I managed to make it on time. My mentality is, with God of course, is that life is hard but I have to make the best out of it. I brought my camera (but I haven’t taken any pictures yet), my mini (this laptop I’m typing on), mp3 player, and Kindle (with book 2 of Narnia). I’ve only been to Bearing once so it will be a cool learning experience.

Well, now I’m here for two nights and a day already and I’ll be here until Monday (another day left). A lot of what I can say miracles happened. To me, a miracle is something that is not supposed to happen but God made it happen. Getting to Camp Bearing was a miracle. None of us knew the way to get there, but I did my best to study the maps and took notes. Together, we were able to maneuver the Kuwaiti highways to Camp Arifjan. Getting a building to live in was also a miracle. The three of us when to the housing building (where they issue temporary housing) and we were told unless we have a memorandum we cannot obtain a building.

“Is there any way that you can help us?” my sergeant asked.

“No,” the clerk said, shaking her head.

But, my sergeant was persistent. She (yes, she) really wanted a building so she kept on talking and asking and referencing. In the end, the staff gave us two rooms (one male and one female of course), with blankets, pillows, and sheets. Wow, what a blessing. Without the building, we would have slept in two large, unlocked bay, or in the truck. Although I felt she was being very pushy and aggressive, she reminded me of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-5) who is never tired of fighting for what is (or think) right. Finding where our security site is at is also a miracle. We had no idea where to go! But we noticed a few landmarks and with a hanging phone-call and couple wrong turns, we eventually found the site. I think, in this day and age, God does miracles in the most ordinary way. He does that so we can put our faith in Him. For example, you are driving and are lost. However, you noticed a few signs or landmarks that reminded you of where you are going and suddenly, your intuition tells you where to go. Or, you have to go work but you are just so exhausted and tired. When you did go to work, you found it to be much easier than expected or that the work days are shortened due to logical conclusions. Such is my trip to Camp Bearing.

The last thing in my heart to write is to share that I finished reading The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. After reading that book, I realized my life also shared many similarities. For me, being in the Army is like being in Narnia. It is a whole new world to me. I went from a world of Starcraft, counter-strike, and resistant evil to a world of going to formations and doing what I’m told. From a world of being locked in my room and alone to a world full of people, and yes, sometimes even crazy people. My wardrobe however, is the recruiting office. The rules are so different. From a world of computer games to the world of real-life and trusting in my Aslan, which is Jesus. I learned so much about life and about God in the Army, things that I would never have learned had I not went to my wardrobe.

6-6-04

{written diary}

6-6-04   10:07am

I just wanted to play games for a long time so I will try to fight it by writing my diary.  It seems that every single day I have so much to write about.  I have a very vivid dream today that I will share, however I forgot alot of it.  I dreamed of Julia [last name] with her teeth so messed up and crooked.  Even that, I still loved Julia [last name].  I hugged her.  No matter how ugly she is, I still love her and care about her.  I asked her why is her teeth so crooked but she said that (I think) she was born that way.  She said that it hurts and is hard for her to chew food.  I even remember how her teeth looks like.  I also remember Jessica [last name] and how her teeth was so beautiful.  I told Julia [ln] that I will give her an equal chance.  I also dreamed of world domination.  A country (the U.S.) attempted to unite the world under one government.  That way, there will be world peace.  First, Europe falls, then Asia.  We were just about to invade the Middle East.  I thought of Iseral and what my dad said that they got their hands bloody.