12 Oct 2013: When Oceans Rise

12 Oct 2013: When Oceans Rise

S: 12:08am
E: 1:28am

[written]

I am now listening to Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsongs. The Intervarsity worship team played this song on Thursday and now I can’t stop thinking about this song.

This song indirectly teaches me hope. When oceans rise, when evil seems overwhelming, I can look and stay with Jesus. The song also teaches me courage: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders….”

One thing that is bothering me is the U.S Government Shutdown and a possible U.S. default.

[typed]

It is marginally affecting my schoolwork. I would stay up late at night checking news about the Shutdown and looking for progress. As I wrote on my Facebook wall, I withdrew a large amount of my savings about a week ago. Just in case if the worse-case happens and the U.S. actually defaults, I will have most of my money on hand. The banks may close if U.S. defaults and what happened to the citizens in Cyprus, where they couldn’t withdraw and the government actually took money from their accounts, won’t happen to me since I took precautions. I also have long positions (exchange-traded fund) in gold and silver. Unlike stocks, commodities such as gold and silver will never lose its entire value. Silver and gold will always have value and with dollar inflation increasing as a strategy by the Federal Reserve to pay down its debt (quantitative easing), gold and silver prices will, generally, keep moving up.

As I was lying on my bed trying to sleep, I felt I had difficulty breathing. I’m worried about what may happen next if the U.S. defaults. I’m also worried what powerful wicked men may be planning next. Then I remembered the God of peace and that God has everything in his control. At first, I felt powerless to fight against world affairs and the darkness. Then, I remembered that, as Christians, we do have a powerful weapon. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. We can pray. We need to fight by praying in the spiritual realms for God to release His power. If every Christian were to pray regularly, this world would be a much more loving and peaceful place. God’s power would come down like waters and change the world.

I think I know what to do now when I become a social worker. I want to promote human rights and fight against injustice. I’m thinking about, after I get my B.S. degree, to enroll in a dual law and MSW program. With God’s help, I can use logical arguments to defend the weak.

Politically, I am a moderate. I want some government intervention to ensure a level playing field. Too much free market or capitalism, and man’s greed will dominate the world. The rich will get richer and the poor, poorer. Power will always be on the side of the rich and the oppressed and needy will not have a chance to thrive. Too much government intervention and people may lose motivation to work and it may cause the government to lose efficiency. The government will lose efficiency due to the large government size needed to regulate policies and regulations. These will lead to an inefficient nation-state. These types of dynamics only apply to the current sinful nature of man. Once Christ comes and humankind’s nature is changed, “the government will be upon His shoulders.”

Picture of me reading a digital Bible.

 

One reason I am a moderate is because I remember my times in the Army. I was suffering, weak, and needy. Thus, when I see people who are in the same condition, I am reminded of where I was and I am moved to help them. The Bible also has an example of this. God instructed the nation of Israel to treat foreigners fairly because the Israelites once were slaves in Egypt (Deu. 24:17).

I find it kind of ironic that I’m using part of my student loans to invest. The FAFSA subsidized annual interest rate for its loans is 3.8%. If I just keep that money as savings, my return rate will be the interest rate for my savings account, in other words, not that much. However, if I were to invest that money in the stock market, I could potentially have higher returns. Historically, the stock market has a greater uptrend than down. Investing in the stock market is also how the upper-class managed to hold and increase their wealth.

I understand the risks; therefore, I only invest in gold or silver, where I know the odds are in favor, or in index funds. I avoid investing in individual stocks because then I would be at a disadvantage. I will not be able to know timely or complete news or information about a company because I don’t have the means to. My only source, as an individual investor, is the news. However, I know that the news is dominated by those in power and I know they might not have the best intentions for the “little people” like me. In other words, they might give me false or misleading information to help their pockets. Right now, I am not investing in index funds because of the lack of fundamentals and the dreaded “triple peak.”

Okay, why am I writing so much about politics and money? I think it’s because of current events. It influenced me. I know that whatever I do, God is in control of the universe. What I do is just “if God wills” (James 4:14). I am just using the resources God has given me to empower myself, and hopefully later, others. I need to have the discipline to focus on what’s important and not spend an inordinate amount of time playing computer games.

8/2/2013: My Purchasing Power

8/2/2013: My Purchasing Power

S: 1:59am
E: 3:10am

There’s something about me writing late at night.  This is the time when my mind and soul are more attuned to itself.

Today, I accidentally spilled a small amount of water on my main laptop.  I have two laptops, I call my main one my “mothership” and this one, which I am writing on now, my “scout ship.”  I promptly shut off my computer and disconnected all external devices to let the computer dry.  When I came back after class to check on my computer, it could turn it on.  But after a while, the keyboard started acting funny.  When I press the “w” key, “wt” or another characters pop out.  When I press backspace, “tw” or something else came up.  The water probably damaged the keyboard circuitry.  Alarmed, I googled searched for advice.  I shut off my computer, turned it upside down, tilted the computer in various directions to get the water out, and blow-dried it.  I didn’t see any water but that didn’t really reassure me.  The water might be trapped inside.  I turned on my computer after waiting for a few hours because I was impatient.  I want to play computer games.  Praise God, the keyboard shows some hope.  The “w” key shows as “w,” and the delete key actually deletes.  But after a short while, the keyboard syndrome came again.  So, I turned off my computer to let it dry some more.  The experts I read told me to let it dry upside-down for 24 hours.  So, I’m using my tiny laptop now.  The one, if I remember correctly, I had back from Kuwait.

Guess what class I’m taking for Summer 2?  That’s right, “La Chicana.”  I’m studying Mexican girls and women.  I seriously didn’t know it.  My Spanish wasn’t that good and by the time I realized my mistake after taking Spanish 2 in Summer 1, it was too late to change.  I thought I would be studying Hispanic History.  But I love my class.  I’m learning about the struggles and the “story of resistance,” as my professor puts it, of Chicanas and Chicanos (Mexican women and men).  There, I learned that the trinity in sociology and ethnic studies are race, class, and gender.  Today, I watched a PBS film titled “Brown is the New Green.”  The film is partly about how corporations use the pan-American term “Hispanic” for marketing purposes even though 51% of Hispanics prefer to see themselves by country (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc).  From previous readings and films from this class, I came to the conclusion that human rights in U.S. correlates with $$.  Back in the 1930s until fairly recently, the media portrays minorities using negative stereotypes and overt racism.  Chicanos were seen as dirty, poor, indians, and over-sexed.  Asian-American women were seen as novel, sexy, and as “dragon-ladies” while her counterpart were seen as non-sexual and shifty.  And for many White Americans who have never seen a Mexican-American or Asian-American, they use those stereotypes to judge these people.  Little was being done to rectify them in part because, back then, those minorities lack purchasing power.  Today, Asian-Americans, Blacks, and Latinos have a combined purchasing power of more than $2.3 (about) trillion.  Latinos alone, according to this film, are expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2011.  Media and businesses saw this and quickly changed their attitude toward those minorities.  They took away overt racism and made advertisements geared for the Hispanic market.  It is this new-found money that these minorities have that sped up civil rights.  All this reinforces the belief that money drives America.  Dollar diplomacy.

Likewise, I want a girlfriend, a soulmate, but I know my chances are not good right now because I don’t have money.  Lets be honest.  I feel I am at least half-right.  For the more secular girls, I’m probably completely right.  If I have $, I would be half-way there.  I see that my dad is correct in telling me when I was young that money is everything in American society.  If God wills, as much as it depends on me, I will try to make as much money as possible because with money I can:

1) Have freedom, as seen by my media example and purchasing power.
2) Change the world.  Look at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  They have money, they can do the world a lot of good.  Look at the major charities in the world: World Vision, American Red Cross.  All these have big money in their coffers.
3) Empower myself.  With money I will have more means to do things.  I learned in my social work classes that poverty is one factor that keeps people down.  There are many other theories but this is one of them.
4) Loved and respected by society.  Taking concepts from investing, it is the fundamentals that count.  It doesn’t matter if other people say bad things or hate me.  I have the money to back me up.

I regret my decision to give so much money to charity and needy people.  I should have, as the parable of the three talents said, invested in a farm, a restaurant, or in a bank.  :)  I should still give but it would be less.  I know there are many arguments to this.  If the world is going to end soon, then storing up treasures in heaven is what counts.  If that is the criteria, then I have done the right thing.  I made the right investments.  But, I will use wisdom from God to make those decisions.  I feel back in my giving-days, I lacked some wisdom in saving for my future.

So, money is what drives all the nations of the world.  It has a heavy influence on most people because our society is driven by capitalism.  In class, one female student said that many woman struggle with choosing between a “safe” guy and a “fun” guy.  The woman wants the “safe” guy because of the stable income but she may think he is boring.  She wants the “fun” guy because he can make her life interesting, but he may not have the means to support her.  So, she may settle in a gray area between those two extremes.  I think most if not all woman nowadays factor money and income as at least 50% of their decision whether to choose this man or not.  So if I don’t have money, I probably already lost or at the very least, heavily disadvantaged.  It is like the final exam for this class.  My final exam is worth, I just checked, 50% of my class grade.  If I don’t have money, which is at least 50%, or fine, let’s say I got 50% on the final exam, an “F,” still, it will still affect my grade heavily.  I might only be like a “C” or a “D” to a girl.  It is not good enough.  I can have “A’s” in everything else.  I can love God, be loving, caring, but to her, it won’t be enough.

It is sad but this is the way things work in this world.  I look forward to the day when Jesus comes back.  To the day when all will be repaid according to what he or she had done.  Then we can reenter the Garden of Eden.  Then we will all live forever.  Money will not be an issue because we would all be bazillionires.

8/1/2013: My Story with God

8/1/2013: My Story with God

S: 12:42am
E: 2:12am

I haven’t written a blog in a long time. Today, I decided to read a few of my “subscriptions” which includes, cutefully, “Little Notes,” “Little Reflections,” and “The Trees will Clap.” I named my blog “Little Dream” because that is the original name for this blog. I have a dream, a little dream for this world.

I need to go to sleep. Tomorrow is the last day of class! I did not do my best in the class because I’m depressed, but I did fight every battle. I told myself that I don’t care if my work is horrible, what matters is I’m going to give every required assignment a try.

What I want to write is why I’m not going to church anymore. It pains me. I love my church, I love God, I love my youth group, but I have at least three reasons why I’m going to go home.

First, and in no particular order, if I cannot love my church fully, I would rather not love them at all. I know that if I love them fully, I will be rejected, or so my intelligence says. Being able to love them only a little bit, having limits to my love would induce suffering for me. I have like a “all-or-nothing” or “go big or go home” mentality. When I was still going to church, I had great plans. I want to eat with my youth group, talk to them, share with them, but I wasn’t able to. They were not receptive. It hurts me that I can only do so little. If I cannot reach my full potential, I would rather go somewhere else where I can. I know recently, my youth group is having weekly fellowship but I feel, through the pain, that starting it now is too late.

Second, I did my “best with God and failed.” It’s one thing to do my best and fail. I can just talk to God for forgiveness and strength. It’s another to do my best while asking God and still fail. I feel horrible. I feel betrayed. I feel my current life is just too hard. Going to church, trying, makes my life harder. I would rather stay home and love God privately. I think of the song “Good-bye” sung by Emily Bond and it conveys how I feel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYWGYuypozU). Lord, I’ve been travelling for so long and seems like I’m always saying so long so long. My life before the Army was hard. Army life was hard. Post-army life is hard. I’m only able to be alive thanks to God but continuing on the fight is just so hard. Unlike most people, I am different. I suck in this world. I don’t want to go into the details of why. You can read my other blogs for that. :) But I try, sometimes I do my best to rectify my weaknesses, to little anvil. I am still weak, I still suck. But it’s okay. If life is too hard, if life is too difficult for me, I have an exit strategy.

Third, people don’t trust and love me completely. To give an example, I have been going to my church for more than two years and yet, despite my effort to love, I still feel like not everyone there loves me. Ok, I know not everyone has to love me, but I feel that people there could love me more. I feel they only love me because of what I can contribute. I do the church powerpoint and sometimes I wash dishes. They only love me because of that. And, they love selectively. There are church members who just don’t talk to me and, to me, seem like they are avoiding me. Yet, when I stopped going, then they start to text me or act concerned. I find it kind of funny at this hypocritical behavior. When I was with them, they normally don’t talk to me, but when I am gone, all of sudden, they miss me. Why don’t they talk to me when I was with them? I feel I am at least half-right to say that they only care about money. If I have money, then I would be courted. I know that people there will treat me differently. I am at least half-right because America is a capitalist society. Rights and freedoms, if they are given out, are doled to those in the upper socio-economic classes first. One reason why my dad is so critical of going to church is because of this reason. “Money cannot buy everything” but I feel like, with wisdom, money could buy everything. Heck, in the Bible, we can use our wealth to gain treasures in heaven (Luke 16:9). So, I’m not going to church again until my annual income is at least $40,000. $50,000 would be better. Then people will respect me. Then people will love me. If I can’t reach it without the former, then I’ll leave this world because life will be too hard. [added later] And to add, I my church cannot help me completely. If I were to tell them all my issues and problems, they would probably reject me. They won’t be able to help me. I know this based on my experience with my church. I remember a time when a homeless woman came to our church. She lugged around a small red wagon with her “stuff” which are in suitcases. I chose to love her and to welcome her because I felt that is the right thing to do and I have a heart of love. During lunch that week, I did not sit with my youth group nor with church adults, but I sat with her and listened. I was the only one who sat next her. This is the kind of unconditional love I want from people. I remember Marisa and how she would greet and love people who are new. Unforuntantly, my love was not perfect. Part of me wished I didn’t get so involved with her because I saw her as a burden. Luckily, that week was my last week before going to LA to visit my dad. I told her that and said she will see me again in two months if she comes back to our church.

Some people may read this and call me “weak.” But, I challenge you that if you were in my shoes and if you were to experience what I have to endure, most will have probably given up long ago. In basic training, I was telling a soldier in public about very special problems and he told me to curse God. “[Your] Life sucks,” he said, “Why are you even being with God?” He told me he wouldn’t live my life. I have to concede though. I am not as strong as those people who live on the streets. If I have to live on the streets, if I have to endure those conditions, then I would rather die. Life would be pain and hell. When I pass by them begging on the streets I think about their inner strength. What gives them strength? How do they endure this? Why don’t they just die and be at peace? God will be the judge.

So these days, I am relaxing and doing what I want. I am trying to do what makes me happy. I am playing computer games and fulfilling my desires. But, I know it is second-rate. However, it is the best way that I can think of. I don’t want to try in something that will bring me pain. I don’t want to try in something that I can’t succeed in. I want to succeed in that. I want to be with my church but I can’t and therefore don’t want to because I already tried my best with God and failed. If I cannot be completely loving and caring, then I will be completely aloof. I will be distant and business-like. Because to be in the middle will bring me pain.

So, I am still going to continue in my Social Work program because I already made that choice. Whether I succeed or not, I don’t care. I’m just going to do my best because that is a battle I have to fight. If my best is not enough, then I have other plans.

I remember that many times, in the Army, I have come this point before, many times. But every time I’ve been here, God always finds a way to help me. I’m thinking this time, it may be different. But, it may not. I was going to give a testimony to my church and my introduction starts with this: “I told myself in the Army that I just want two things from God. For God to keep me alive and that I can always talk to Him anytime peacefully because I figured that if I can just talk to God, then I can have everything.” Maybe Satan won. Like in the Book of Adam and Eve, Satan buried the two figs that God gave them. Yet, God made changed those two figs into two fig trees. I am a child of Seth and even though, sadly, almost all of them went down to sin with the sons of Cain, I will still do my best to love God. It’s a tragedy. When they left the holy mountain to the sons of Cain, they could not go back up again. I wondered to myself what could they do to be saved? I am like one of them, a child of Seth, who went down to sin and darkness. But, instead of continuing in my sin like what the children of Seth did, I will separate myself from them and try to find others like me who want to seek God’s mercy again. Perhaps He will spare those children and maybe the Flood would not have happened.

It’s too late now, it’s too painful, I’ve tried (I think with God) and failed. I don’t want to go to church anymore until I have money because if I do, then people will respect and love me. I know this world is messed up. I can see it, but there’s nothing I can do to change it. Well, the only thing I think I can do, and the most important thing any Christian can do, is to pray. My whole life has been a failure and a story of God’s mercy on me. But it is too painful. I don’t want to suffer anymore. I want to say good-bye because I have been travelling for so long. To survive, I’m going to go back to my natural self, before the Army. I’m going to be super introverted and just seek God alone. I’m going to have a cold, distant shell to people because it will be too painful otherwise. I find joy in singing. I love to sing. I’m glad I have more than a thousand Christian songs in English, Chinese, and Spanish and when I sing those songs, I find joy, I find happiness, I find hope. So when I feel alone, I would sing. It’s too painful to go back, it’s too painful to try again. Partly it’s my fault and partly it’s their fault.

But I will try to continue to write my discoveries. I did that before the Army, too. My story will always be my “story with God.”

7/8/2013: I’ve Told Myself that You are Not Enough (You Are I Am- Mercyme)

7/8/2013: I’ve Told Myself that You are Not Enough (You Are I Am- Mercyme)

S: 10:18pm
E: 11:14pm

I really do feel that nobody cares about me. No, not feel but probably see. God give me eyes too, I can see and feel what is going on. It is only when I have money, when I have influence, does people start to care about me. If it is based on who I know, if it is based on how many influential people I know aka “connections,” then I already have the most important one. His name is Jesus. If it is based on money, on riches, then I have the most important one, the Crown of Life.

The only thing I feel that I don’t have is my Eve. I wish God can do a surgery on me. Take one of my ribs and make an Eve from it. I have God, I have riches, I just don’t have a companion. What can substitute for it? What can substitute for a soulmate? I’m thinking. Many Christians will tell me it’s God, God will provide everything. And yes, God does provide everything. I can talk and spend time with God, but I feel there is a hole that being with God can’t fill. That hole requires one of God’s greatest blessings, a mate.

My church is doing a Spiritual Health Checkup but I am long aware of my condition. I try to follow God, to seek Him, but my flesh, my sinful nature, and the airwaves of Satan, greatly hinder me. I do evil instead.

I feel like I’m stuck in a loop. I need a girlfriend to continue growing, to survive, to reach my potential, but what I’m getting from this world is that to get a girlfriend, I have to first have money. But, so far, I can’t do it without a girlfriend. People may say my problem is psychological, that there is something abnormal with me. But, I don’t think so. What I want and what I need are part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Having a soulmate will greatly satisfy my need for love and for belonging.

I tried. I can’t just pretend that I’m talking to my future mate. I can’t satisfy my need to be loved and belong by imagining that I’m talking with a girl I love. I feel that is sinful and it doesn’t do anything to change reality. Posting pictures of girls won’t work also.

I’m writing this and thinking this with my eyes closed. I feel thinking deeply and then writing helps to improve my quality, just like writing my discovery by hand first and then typing it makes my discovery better.

What is Enoch’s secret? What is the secret of godly men who remained single throughout their lives? One of the ways in which I can survive is to learn their secret.

Maybe I should have dates with God. I already sing to God sometimes. That incident on Independence Day is pretty good. Maybe I need to do something special and have much more special events with God. It’s just like a married life. Couples who don’t do things that are special a lot tend not to stay together. Maybe that’s what it means to have our “first love” with Christ. I can go on prayer hikes. I used to do them before the Army when I lived in Los Angeles. I would bike to the mountains and then walk with God. Well, by the time I reach the mountains, many times I’m already tired. :(

So this is maybe what I should do. Since I don’t have a companion yet, I will have many special events with God. I will try to invite other believers if it’s appropriate and if no one comes, then I’ll go alone. It’s being with God and doing it for God that counts. And, if, I have a girlfriend in the future, then those special events with God will be shared with her. :) But some of those special events will have to be transferred to her. Maybe that is why Paul wrote a married man will have his attention divided between his wife and his God.

I should not worry about the cost. I should not worry about how much gas it will cost or other expenses. As long as it is for the Lord, it will be worth it, if not immediately, then in the end.

When I write, I make a lot of spelling mistakes, and Microsoft Word spell-check doesn’t guesstimate them all. That is why I use the Google search engine as my new spell-check. What Microsoft Word can’t detect, Goggle can.

I could write more, but my time is running out. I need to go to sleep now. I find that I’m sleeping at atrocious times. If I was still in the Army, I would never sleep that late. Maybe I should get a night job or something. I find that I do better at night.

Good night.

4/2/9/2013: The End of America: Two Approaches of Surviving the End Times

4/2/9/2013: The End of America: Two Approaches of Surviving the End Times (incomplete)

S: 12:01am
E: 12:57am

A good way to prepare writing something is to walk around and talk it over or talk to yourself about your thoughts and what you want to write.

Today I want to write about the inevitable end of America. Yes, from my research, I find that the American economy will collapse due to many reasons. I don’t have the time or the desire to explain why America as we know it will be changed. If you want more information, check the news and do the research. Challenge your beliefs and read articles you will disagree with. But, I’ll give one reason. The US has a huge amount of debt and it is likely, if current policies do not change, that it will go higher and, pretty soon, the country will not be able to pay even the interest payments. The government’s solution so far is to print more money but that is self-defeating. Pretty soon, other countries will see the true picture of America and it will no longer be considered a safe haven of investment. America will lose its status as the world’s reserve currency and all hell will break loose.

[insert US debt graph]
Graph that shows total US debt.

Some helpful links:

[US debt clock]
[A youtube video that you watched “The End of America”
[Atlantic Article and/or CFR article on economy]
[12 hours after US econcomy breaks YouTube video]

Because it is late, my next article will be on how to survive when Armageddon comes to America, but for this article, I will share two approaches of how I should live in the end times.

1. The Street Preacher Approach
[Picture of the Street Preacher (Use LOD pastor picture?)]

I developed this approach when I was still in the US Army. Back then times are tough and life is hard. I figured that if the world is going to end I might as well fulfill the Great Commission and be like a street preacher. Instead of being on the streets looting and raping, I will be preaching and holding my Bible out. They can take anything I have, including my Bible; actually it would be nice if they take my Bible (I should memorize the Scriptures by then). It will be a good idea if I can pass out Bibles like the Gideon’s when hell comes. If I live, I live for God; if I die, I die for God. I already know that I have my promises in heaven. “My soul belongs to God I know / I made that vow a-long ago.”

2. The Survivalist Approach
[picture of house on solid rock]

The second approach is more conventional. I will prepare for the end times. I will go more in detail with how to prepare based on my research and what I call the “Steven think-tank” haha. I will be like the wise virgins who brought the oil and were able to enter the building of safety than the ones that don’t.

Before these times come, I will make it my mission to pray, not for world peace or economic stability because the end will come as prophesied by the Bible, but for as many people as possible to come to Christ and for people to know more about God before that day comes. Because when the end comes, those who are invited to the banquet will not be able to come in. Like in Noah’s Ark, what God has shut, man cannot open. Therefore, we need to watch and pray and look at the signs of the times.

Jesus is Lord.

Poker: A Game of Probability | An Ace in My Hand

*Special English Edition*

1/24/2012:  Poker: A Game of Probability | An Ace in My Hand

This is probably taboo for me to share but once when I was in basic training at Ft. Sill, OK, a group of soldiers in my barracks started playing Texas hold’em.  It was night-time and the drill sergeants left to sleep.

I went to the group to watch them play.  I didn’t want to join because they are playing for real money.. or real candy.  The soldiers there were betting fives and cough drops.  Well, they pressured me to join because they threatened to call me a wuss and make fun of me in day-time if I don’t.  So I joined.  I had some cough drops so I used that as a buy-in.  The soldiers used them as poker chips.

In the beginning, I started to lose, but I began to relearn the game.  Before this time, I played it on Yahoo! but I was very bad.  Yet, a strange thing happened.  I was pressured to join and then to eventually to play for money.  It was a late night thing.  I put in $20 (I think, or is it ten?) and I began to play wisely.  If I have a good hand, I would make bets.  I would make fake facial expressions to help throw people off.  I would look at how other players play and watch them to get intelligence.  And then I started winning.  

I started winning hand after hand.  Of course, I didn’t win every hand, just the hands that count.  After a while I got $40 in winnings.  I tried to tell the soldiers that we should stop and call it a day.  Not only is it prohibited, I think, in the military, and especially during basic training, but I am also taking other people’s money and I don’t want negative repercussions in the future because of that.  

But the soldiers playing refused to give up.  They told me they “want to get my money back” so they continued to pay more and I.. continued to win more.  Throughout this whole time, I kept saying “lets cancel the game” and “I’ll give all your money back” because I was scared.  We were playing on a soldier’s bunk bed using flashlights because everybody else was asleep.  It is past midnight.  I had about $80 to my name when a soldier suddenly ran to us and said, wild-eyed, that a drill sergeant is coming.  All of us were shocked and we were all trying to put the cards away, throwing bunks and beds, and trying to run back to our areas pretending to be asleep.  

I thought I was going to be caught red-handed and, for a moment, I really thought so.  I realized I probably couldn’t buff pretending I was sleeping so I quickly got my folder out, some notebook papers with miscelleous writing on it, a pen, and pretended that I was writing a letter.  If the drill sergeant asks, I could just say I was writing a letter to my mom.  

Thanks to the shock, I got what I wanted.  I convinced the soldiers to cancel the game and I returned everybody’s money back.  It was a close call and it was the only time I played for real money.

I *probably* won’t play for real money again but recently, I started to play poker, too.  It’s all for free though, and for imaginary chips.  I feel I started to learn how to really play the game.
Sun Tzu once said that if you know yourself, you can expect to win at least half of the time.  I hope, my reading this article, that you can win at least half of the time.  “知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆.”

One tool that helped me a lot is a poker calculator.  If you are thinking about playing poker, I seriously suggest you get one.  I downloaded a free calculator in my computer and I use it all the time when I play poker.  Why should you get one?  Because having a calculator tells you your odds of winning given the hand you have, and the situation at the table.  I don’t have the time in-game to calculate every single card so I just do the basic: I calculate the two cards in my own hand.  After some experience, you will learn to see the cards on the table and form a general picture.

Yeah, you should probably fold this time.

Poker is a game of probability and, so far, the adage “go big or go home” rings true.  By using the calculator and thus knowing your odds and by knowing the various possible combinations and the likelihood of them plus the possibility of winning if those cards were to happen based on the cards already set on the table, the player can truly know him or herself.  Watching the World Series of Poker on YouTube is also a good way to gain some exposure.

Second, much harder and without complete infallibility, is the ability to know your opponent.  It takes time to know how your opponents play so I generally play defensive for the first couple of rounds to try to scope out my enemies.  Some players are aggressive and they bet every round.  That means, in some of the rounds, their hands are not good, and if they win more than they proportionally should, they are buffing on some of the rounds.  There are others that are just plain dumb and would go all-in just to make the game go faster.  Then, two or three other players would do the same and within a short period of time, the tournament just lost three people with a huge chip leader.  However, if that happens, there is still hope.  That chip leader is willing to take big risks so there is a chance of big rewards if you know yourself and stay true to it by not folding when the pressure gets hard.

A player can have the perfect starting hand and still lose.  That is why it is wise, generally, to bet in according to what you have.  If you have a good hand, be more aggressive, if a bad hand and the stakes are too high, then fold.  

If a player only bets the first round and checks the second, there is a 80% probability that their hand is not good and they are having doubts.  It’s all psychology.  If that’s the case, place a bet.  That player will likely fold.

If the player bets very high initially, there is a 80% chance that he or she has a good hand.  If you have a poor hand, then fold.  You can still win, but the odds are against you.

If the player bets very high initially and continues to bet high, there is a 80% chance that he or she got something or a combo they wanted.  But, if you know yourself and your cards and you believe it, you can play along (don’t raise it) and pretend to let your opponent know that you are unsure and have doubts.  Then that person may try to raise it higher to get you to fold but you prove them wrong.  In general, never raise or bet unless you have a good chance of getting a good set.

If the player bets high initially and then only checks afterwards, that player may be having doubts.  

After a while, when the opponent thinks they know how you play, you can change your playing style a little.  Start bluffing a little bit, especially when the opponent has doubts as described above.  I won many rounds with a poor hand because I made my enemy think that my hand is better than his or that somehow the cards on the table just gave me a jackpot.  Of course, your enemy might be thinking what you are thinking so it is all a chance.  You just have to know when to take that chance and be willing to go all-in if you do.

Application to Real Life:

Like in the game of poker, take calculated risks.  If you think something has a chance to be more good than bad, then take the risk, but be willing to back off if the situation changes.  One difference to real life is not to lie and to be honest because God sees.  If what I’m doing doesn’t turn out to be expected, is doing harm, or most likely won’t turn out the way I wanted it to, I would back down.  We can trick people but we can’t trick God and He is the judge.

Some days I have good hands and other days not so good, but, I find that the days that God is in it, somehow I have an ace in my hand.

11/29/2012: A chink in their armor

11/29/2012: A chink in their armor

{S: 6:25pm}

I look around
And see my wonderful life
Almost perfect
From the outside
In picture frame
I see my beautiful wife
Almost smiling
but on the inside

I can hear her say
Lead me with strong hands
Stand up where I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams
But what about us?

Show me you’re willing to find
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone.

I look around and see their innocent eyes….

It is said that each person, each human being, is but one step away from disaster, from calamity.  Each person has a weakness; a chink in their armor.  No matter how firm or strong someone seems to be, take away their jobs, their income, their families, their health, and so forth, just take away one of those things and see how strong they are then.  Take away their friends; take away their support and see where they stand.

My cousin was living a perfect life.  She told me she was so happy, that she “loved life.”  Then her husband passed away and everything collapsed.  She fell into a deep depression; she doesn’t want to do anything anymore.  Her family’s house was foreclosed.  They ran into deep financial trouble.  But, I am helping them.  These days, I call her frequently to offer her support, to comfort her, and to help her get back on her feet again.  Only God can do that.

A true test of faith would be the test of Job.  He had everything, but then, God took away everything.  Yet, he was still loyal and clung on to God.

I think very few people like Job exist in this world anymore.  I heard stories from lottery winners that as soon as their friends and loved ones found out that person won, they became like monsters; they became like zombies.  In this money-worship society, it is hard to find true faith anymore.  It is hard to find someone who “deals honestly and seeks the truth” (Jeremiah 5:1).

I myself have weaknesses.  Take away my GI Bill, take away my loans.  Take away my 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night and see what happens.  Well, I may just die in Jesus.  “Give me liberty or give me death.”  And God knows much more about me than I know about myself.  I try to spend at least one hour everyday for God and it is helping me.  My aim and I hope every Christian’s aim should be to be like Job.  That when “all around our souls gives way, he then is all our hope and stay.”

{E: 7pm}

11/19/2012

11/19/2012:

{S: 8:48pm}

I trust in God
Wherever I may be
Upon meadows or the roaring sea
And through the gloom
He leads me Home
My Heavenly Father watches over me.

I trust in God
I know He cares for me
From mountain peaks or by the raging sea
The billows roar
He keeps my soul
My Heavenly Father watches over me.

I need to write more so I’m going to start writing.  I’m planning to make a new page on my WordPress that lists all my best or favorite blogs.  That way, I or other people don’t have to fish through my hundreds of blogs to find what they want.  Of course, I feel almost all my blogs, the ones from my high school years don’t really count, have some spiritual value.

So my hectic week has passed.  I did very well thanks to God.  I barely had time to do them and I was able to.  Actually, from a different viewpoint, taking 16 credits can be actually nothing.  If I spent half the time I spent playing games on my assignments, school would be a breeze.  I still played so much games in that busy week and I was still able to get A’s and one B on all my assignments.  I just managed my time and forced myself to do what’s important.  But still.  It is not right.  Like a cycle, I deleted that rpg game with weeks of work in it because I need to give more time to God.

I still don’t have internet but I am planning to get it.  In a way, not having internet is a blessing.  I am forced to control myself and manage my time more wisely.  Too many temptations and a person may fall apart.  For my internet, I was thinking about getting Time Warner, the only cable internet provider in my area.  I can get the standard plan, put it on my router, and share it with everyone.  I did the same thing when I was living in the barracks.  I labeled my internet “free internet” and made it unsecured.  Later, I found out that soldiers would camp next my room to use the internet and the new soldiers that came perched on its branches.  All that giving and I rarely detected a drop in my internet speed.

Just right now, I can detect about four or five good wireless connections.  If only one of them is willing to sacrifice and share, how much good that would be and how much money would be saved.  Of course, like technology, it depends what people use the internet for.  That’s an onion I need to peel.

I chose to resist getting internet in my room because it’s so expensive.  A month of regular cable internet can cost $50 a month.  That is why I’m considering getting AT&T’s DSL.  The basic plan at regular price is $30 / month.  The speed however, is significantly slower.  I can still try to label it “free internet” and share it, but if it’s too slow.. well, I can learn some net management tools and give myself some guaranteed bandwidth.  Sharing is caring.

I read the entire “Chronicles of Narnia” while on deployment in Kuwait and I long to read the last book of the series, “The Final Battle” again.  I’m charging my e-book reader now and it’s almost done.  I want to read the “The Final Battle” because, in almost the entire storyline, evil is winning, but Aslan comes in at the right time and restores Narnia again.  Reading these stories is like being in Reading Rainbow.  {E: 9:14pm}

23 June 2010

[written diary]

23 June 2010

S: 11:02pm

E:

Right now, I’m on guard duty and, as always, I’m very tired. I don’t understand why I’m so tired. Maybe it’s because of my low iron level. I’m going to the TMC to ask for iron supplements, yellow fever shot, and new glasses.

Wow, I, or we, discussed a lot of things while on guard duty. Man, I just want to write my main thoughts out. I hate this fucked up world. Maybe that’s one reason I’m seriously thinking about becoming a street preacher. Well, what am I going to preach about? How am I going to preach? I will simply trust in God to provide. I am willing to suffer the shame, pain, suffering, abuse, etc to spread the gospel. I may not know the answers, but I know God; I know Him who provides the answers.

Again, I hate this world. I hate its lust, its sin, its pleasures (esp. sex). It’s hurting innocent people, especaly children: God’s law is written to give us happiness, but man has decided to go his own way.

The many movies I watching now all teaches sin. The one thing they focus on is profits. They worship money, not God. I think one criteria to ask for any movies or media is what do they worship? The movie my battle buddies are watching now, and praise God I forgot the name, are filled with sex secenes. It’s filled with humor, sex, and other worldly values. Why are worldly values bad? It angers me to eve have to answer this question. It’s bad because you know it’s bad. Deep inside each of us, we know, thanks to our conscience, that it’s bad.

Funnyness doesn’t give any reason to do anything. Funnyness actually pleases the flesh, thus, it leads many people, unknownly, to sin. Why are so many things that are funny evil in nature?

And of course I am resisting the desires of my sinful flesh. I hate this world. I hate what this world is teaching its inhabientents. I don’t care if I get beat up or if I stutter. I will preach open-air. If I’m defeated, I take solace in the fact that I did.

Of course I have my dreams and wants, but I must must please God first. I want a girlfriend but God’s work must be done first. He knows it all.

Wow, I’m so tired. Whew. If only I have the strength to write freely, but then, If I do, I might just play computer games. So pitful am I! I must stop playing games. I have a lot of writing and catching up to do on Facebook.

Life is not about entertaining men, but angels :) .

I shouldn’t have played Bang! after church. I should have formed a group about how to reach people on the streets, and if nobody wants to or seems interested, to do it myself.

14 Jan 2010

14 Jan 2010

S: 7:33pm

I have something that happened to me today that trimupts my experience in the field, what happened after the field, and almost everything in my life. I lost my little ewe lamb.

Well, not an actual lamb, but my external hard drive. By losing that, I lost a lot of my personal information and ALL my pictures (but praise God, I still have the pictures of the girl I love, but I will delete it if it causes me to sin; she can’t “accept [my] feelings”). True, I used to have a copy of everything in my computer, but ever since I reformatted my computer, I no longer trust my computer and relied on my external hard drive. It’s so important to me that I actually comteptated suicide. I can’t go on with a big part of me missing. Someone probably stole it and used it for what it’s for, meat. Forget about the feeling, the emotions, or the experiences.

As I ponder about my loss (after looking like a poor widow trying to find her coin), I relized that my copy of everything is actually in heaven. God already knows everything. When I get to heaven, I can recall all the experiences in my life in a flash. I don’t really have to worry about keeping a personal backup. Now that I thought about it, I still have some of my pictures on Facebook. Heh, praise God for Facebook! Wow, Facebook is now my personal backup. My backup is now online. I wonder how long that will last.

Of course I feel angry on the person who stole it, but I hope that he (or she? probably not) will be changed by God because of it. I wrote a lot of God-stuff and I hope it can be used to evangalize to him. I also have all my important passwords, and yes, passwords that I can’t remember. Ouch, that will hurt, but I won’t change it. If he takes my money, it’s not my money he is stealing, but God’s, for all I have belongs to God.

And it’s also time for me to get a new computer. I used all my technial skill to fix my computer but it still failed. Even getting this on Facebook is a mircuale. I just hope I can use this time to backup what I DO have in this computer to a flash disk.

You know, I’m thinking of buying a box of external hard drives and just laying it on my bed when I deploy. I would make a poster that says “Jesus loves you” and leave it to that. This reminds me of an experience I had in AIT. One of the segarents would inspect our rooms everyday and mess their rooms up for no reason. Well, the segarents say they have a reason, like there’s a piece of trash on the floor, or the bunk isn’t dressed perfectly, or other bullshit reason. I know their motive, and it is to mess with soldiers just for the hell of it, in the name of training. My bunk would be flipped everyday and I wouldn’t know why. One day, I was tired of it, but I wanted to show God’s love to whoever is doing this evil thing. I took a piece of notebook paper, wrote in permeant marker “Jesus Loves You,” and taped a $20 bill to it. The next day, the flipping stopped. I looked underneath my pillow, and there it is, a $20 bill with “Jesus Loves You.” From then on, the seargents still check rooms, but they will only mess it up for obvious reasons. My bunk wasn’t flipped again for a long while. I find this kind of strange, but I didn’t really understand what was going on back then. Now I know, praise God.

And so, now I’m back from the field, but I still can’t “take control of my Facebook.” I would have to buy a new laptop and 2 external hard disks, just in case one of them get’s stolen.

1/15/10
S: 10:52

Praise God, I found an old backup of my pictures and most of my information, even through its several months out of date. I’m still content.

And also, I already went to the PX (its like a Wal-Mart to me) and brought a new laptop and ext. hard drive. A box? Nah, a little too expensive.