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}

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.

Lessons in Narnia: End of the world

4/2/2011: Lessons in Narnia: End of the world

S: 8:50pm

E: 10:02pm

I was reading Genesis 6 according to the Bible study plan put in place by my church and I decided to use this moment to write about Narnia.

In C.S. Lewis’ first Chronicle of Narnia book, The Magician’s Nephew, Digory and Polly used the ring Uncle Andrew made to stumble into the world of Charn. In the great hall, they saw kings sitting on rows of chairs. At first, the kings looked “kind and wise.” As they walked further down, the expression on their faces changed. The kings there no longer looked happy or kind but were very solemn. Further down, the faces became “very strong and proud and happy.” The children did not like those faces. As they go still further, they saw faces that looked cruel but no longer happy. Towards the end, the faces had a despairing look. At the very end, however, was a tall woman with a fierce look of pride that “took your breath away.” Digory and Polly did not like this place and decided to leave but as they are leaving, they encountered a bell and a hammer. Digory was curious and decided to sound the bell. At first the melody was sweet but it ended with a disastrous tone. The world of Charn is ending.

The Bible also talked about the ending of a world: The ending of the first world of men. Gone were the Nephilim, “heroes of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4). Nearly gone also were the race of men and the animals. Just like in the world of Charn, as the faces grew more evil, as men become more wicked, the end of the world is near. God decided to end the first world because of men’s “wickedness…, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). God started a flood and destroyed that water-incased world. Only Noah, who “walked with God,” (Genesis 6:9) his sons, and their wives, survived. I’m surprised that very little about that world is shared in the Bible. Where are the stories of the Nephilim? How about the cities and history of these ancient, long-life people? The fact is, these information are not important. Their world has already been destroyed due to wickedness.  May the destruction of the first world serve as a warning for this one.

Jesus prophesied when the ending of this world will be near. In His Olivet Prophecy, Jesus said in Matthew 24 that there will be great wars, famines, earthquakes, and persecution (Matthew 24:7-9). He also added: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12). Wickedness will also be a determining factor of when this world will end.

Our world is ending, Jesus is coming back and the third world will come when heaven meets earth.

Lessons in Narnia: A Mysterious Horror

3/19/2010: A Mysterious Horror

S: 3:16pm

E: 3:55pm

Today, I went to the OneThing event in Pasadena and one of the things I’ve learned in the morning session is that God can satisfy our need for pleasure much better than anything else, that the pleasures this world can give is secondary compared to the pleasures of God.

After the session, I brought the “Intimacy With God” collection which included “7 Longings of the Human Heart” by Mike Bickle. While reading the conclusion and then the introduction of the book (I tend to start reading books from the end.. don’t know why :) ), the author tells the reader that each human being has seven basic longings: The longing to be enjoyed by God, longing for fascination, for beauty, greatness, longing for intimacy without shame, longing to be wholehearted, and the longing to make a deep and lasting impact. I agree that I have a longing for each of these.

I thought about my military friends and how they are trying to satisfy their longings the wrong way and how much they can enjoy life if they satisfy their longings in God. God created these longings and wants us to fulfill it in Him. However, when I visualized telling my friends about this amazing discovery, I realized that my friends hate hearing the word “God,” which brings me to write this lesson about Narnia.

In the world of Narnia, the word “Aslan” is not a completely welcomed name. While some cheered and rejoiced that Aslan (the great Lion who created their world) is coming, others grew to hate and shun it. Edmund and Eustace, for example, when they first heard the word Aslan, grew afraid although they didn’t quite know why. To them, Aslan provokes a sense of dread or “a mysterious horror”. I find from reading Narnia that those who love Aslan the most tend to be good-hearted (like Lucy) and those who hate him without ever seeing him tend to be evil.

In this world, people don’t fear Aslan; they fear God. As with the name of Aslan, some people are afraid of hearing the word God. To them, it inspires a sense of hatred, dread, or, likewise, a mysterious horror. And, also likewise, I find that people who love God the most without ever seeing Him tend to be good-hearted while the opposite is true for those who fear (not holy fear but fear as in dread) his Name.

Lessons in Narnia: Talking Animals

3/18/2011: Talking Animals

S: 12:58am

E: 1:41am

I know it is very late now, but, as I said, when an inspiration comes, I cannot blow it off. If I do, it will go away. I would like to start my first “lesson” in Narnia on Talking Animals.

While reading the Vertical Thought magazine, I came across an article titled, “Porn Causes Brain Damage.” In the article, I was shocked to find that Jack, a person mentioned, is suffering from brain damage not from trauma but from pornography. After viewing porn regularly for 20 years, most of his brain no longer functioned normally. He can’t even remember simple things or hold a simple conversation. And, I feel that in this modern age where pornography is readily available, Jack will not be an isolated case. As more and more people are drawn to the desires of the flesh, I’m afraid many more will be like him. I say this because I also struggle with pornography and it already caused great damage to me. In the case of Jack, he had gone so far down the road that he ceased to be a Talking animal but rather, a dumb animal.

In The Magician’s Nephew, when the children Digory, Polly and a myriad of other people accidently tumbled into a new world called Narnia, Aslan started to create the world and the animals. When he finished creating the animals, or rather, singing the animals into existence, he touched a few with his nose and they became Talking Animals.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

Aslan told the Talking Animals, those he selected, that the land of Narnia is forever theirs and their also, all the dumb animals. However, Aslan warned the animals, “not [to] go back to their ways lest you cease to be Talking Beasts” (Chapter Ten).

In the last book of Narnia, The Last Battle, we see a cat, named Ginger, betray his own kind and do a foolish thing. He thought he can go in the Stable Door, pretend to see Tash or Aslan, and be alright afterward. We know that in the Bible, no one can see the face of God and live (Isaiah 6:5). So what happened to the Cat? Well, he played his part alright, but the cat sadly, lost its ability to speak.

When I read this part, I felt sad. I really wished the cat can repent and speak again, but, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31). The Cat did an awful thing against God, which is the Spirit, by claiming that he can see God. That is blasphemy against the Spirit and is irreversible.

So now, we Christians are Talking Animals. We know God, we have a relationship with Him, and we can talk to Him. We are selected and chosen. Be careful that we do not revert back to the ways of this world, or else, one day, you may find yourselves dumb to God.

1/1/2011: The Life that Wins

1/1/2011: The Life that Wins

S: 7:30pm

E: 8:20pm

“Do you know the life that wins? Are you ashamed of the kind of Christian life you live? Have you failed so terribly in your striving for victory that you cry out, ‘Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me…?’ (Rom. 7:34)” (Translator’s preface to Watchman Nee’s The Life that Wins).

Right now, I feel bad about myself. I spent the first day of the new year, mostly on my desires and the things of the flesh, which is computer games. I tried to fight, and yes, in the morning, I managed to have a long walk with God, but it all went downhill from there. Why? Why is it so difficult for me to pray and to focus on God? When I sit down on my seat in front of the computer, thoughts to do evil came. I just can’t sit and pray. It’s so hard. Many times, I have to go outside, like taking a walk, for me to focus on God. When I sit in front of my computer, temptation comes. I want to do other things instead of spending time on God. I get distracted and that is not good.

I’m still fighting, still struggling to have self-control, to live by the Spirit. Yesterday evening, I spend two hours designing a map with properties for TripleA, a map of my spiritual life. I downloaded a map maker and utilities, but, I always get sidetracked to playing TripleA games instead. In my intuition, I knew that making that map would be wonderful. It can help me map out my spiritual battle and I think it can also provide a guide for other people too. When I want to make maps, the difficulty of making it channels me to play games instead. Yes, “wretched man I am! Who shall deliver me?” I am still not only trying to be saved from sins, but I’m also trying to be saved from this world.

And also, to settle this nagging thought, from the world’s standards, I know I suck. But, it doesn’t matter if I suck, what matters is whether I follow and love God or not. People can make fun of me, point at me, and shame me, but, I will still try to do God’s will for my life. I see people in this world who are so powerful, so good, so high, so etc, that my first tendency is to admire and learn to become like them. But no! I must not! I need to become great in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of men.

The thing is, I’m also afraid to be great. My whole life, I have never been popular, admired, or great. When attention comes to me, my natural instinct is to hide and go back to the shadows. My fear of being great needs to change too. I need to follow God, whether I become great or not. I find that with God, I tend to be more perfect, more courageous, more strong, have more joy, have a clearer mind, and of course, I write better. Right now, I’m not writing very well because I am not as close to God as I should be. I am turning to other idols instead of turning to God. That is why I’m feeling a disconnect; that is why I’m not as smart, clear, strong, courageous, happy (lasting happiness) now. I’m only strong with God. I’m only strong when God makes me strong and God makes me strong because I love and follow Him. I will become like the real Steven, like in Narnia, but now, due to sin and imperfection, the good Steven that you see is only a trace of what it could be.

“I see,” [Lucy] said. “This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside the stable door! I see… world within world, Narnia within Narnia….”

 

A TripleA WW2 game. I have been playing different maps and variations like these for a few weeks now, but although it was fun and challenging in the beginning, I overplayed and abused it so that it became enslaving. If I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, I would have done better.