Another Perspective

loving difficult people
photo credit: lipkee

How do you look at this picture? The photographer has described these Great Egrets as “Adult and two very demanding juveniles”. It is a prickly, thorny experience.

I did a search of the bird and found this interesting fact:

The male great egret chooses the nesting site and builds a nest platform of sticks and twigs in a tree or bush before he selects a mate. Both the male and female aggressively defend the nesting territory. They nest in colonies, often with herons and ibis.

Now, after reading about their habits, I look at the picture differently. It is not “demanding juveniles”. It is an awesome sight to behold – just aesthetically perfect of great egrets living in colonies playing with each other!

Often it’s our perspective. There are prickly people, thorny problems and thick carpet of troubles in our everyday’s life. What do we choose to see? Do we allow God to brighten our days with His perspective?

Rick Warren in his email devotion today titled “Loving difficult people” shared this verse,

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (NIV)

He shared four methods Jesus modeled when He encounter difficult people. Let’s allow Jesus’ ways to transform mundane and troublesome daily events into a personal spiritual encounter with Him:

1. Realize you can’t please everybody. Even God can’t do that! Refuse to play games (Matthew 22:18).

2. Learn to say no to unrealistic expectations. Confront them by “telling the truth in love.”

3.NEVER retaliate (Matthew 5:38-39). It only lowers you to their level.

4.Pray for them (Matthew 5:44). It will help both of you. Let God speak to them.

(Note: This post also appears in my Church’s 40DOP here.

The Cross

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It was Palm Sunday yesterday. It was our Lord’s last week when he entered Jerusalem. They call it “the triumphant entry”. In the eyes of the world, the way to bring the King to the city would be different. Probably, luxurious cars led by a grand band, guarded by police cars would be how the world would visualize a King entering a city triumphantly.

But, our Lord chose to ride into the city on a jackass, on a donkey!

Our Lord probably would have referred to it as a Day of Sorrows. It was the day that he went into the temple for the second time in his ministry to clean out the money-changers in his Father’s house. It was the day that he went up the Mount of Olives. He looked over the city. His heart broke in yearning over the wretched city. And he cried out those unforgettable words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you would not!” (Luke 13:34)

One week later, he was nailed to a cross outside that very city’s gates where the multitude greeted him with “Hossana in the Highest”.

Were the multitude the ones who now cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”?

This is a very propitious time for us to consider the cross –

Near the cross, O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me.
Help me walk from day to day,
with its shadows o’er me.

Posted in Soul Reflections. Comments Off on The Cross

Unfolding of words

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I love reading letters. I grew up with letters from BingXin in her series “Letters to young readers”. BingXin (1900 – 1999) is a Chinese writer of 20th century. Her letters to young readers have stimulated and is still stimulating and educating generations of young readers.

Other book of letters in my collections includes one on friendship titled “84 Charing Cross Road”. This books is an exchange of letters between the author, Helene Haniff and an English bookstore, Marks & Co. The exchange of thoughts and feelings between the two persons are very heartwarming.

Earlier last month, I read in the news that Tun Dr Mahathir has launched his book on selected letters to world leaders. That I have marked in my “Palm Treo” as a must-buy book. Marking it in my Palm Treo because it means a book shopping list in my next trip to bookstores in Kuala Lumpur!

Yes, I got it when I went to KL last week. And I finished reading it in the airport. What other better thing I can do in airport?

I love Dr M’s clarity of thoughts and his being very vocal in various issues. In issue related to terrorism, he classifies it as “Winning Hearts and Minds”. Issues related to Globalization, he classifies as “Between Power and Powerlessness”. In issues of War and Conflict, it is classified as “Then Peace (As Always)” and for Economic and Diplomatic relations, he terms it “Raw Power (not skill) is real diplomacy”.

I am not a “book reviewer”. But, I always borrow wisdom from authors. Here is one from Dr M in his Prologue for the book –

Whether I was a good or a bad Prime Minister is, of course, not for me to say. When I am dead and gone, the judgement would be more accurate. Since I will not be around then, it would be quite meaningless to me. My children and friends would be the ones to savour the truth or bear the pain of whatever I am condemned for.

Ending with another borrowed wisdom from King David for the candidates in the nation’s General Election engaging in the war of words –

The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
longing for your commands.
Ps 119:130-131

Here comes the bride

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Almost all the newspapers carried this news today as lead story –

Parliament won’t be dissolved today, says Prime Minister

Including mine, The Borneo Post.

Though it has been widely speculated that the Parliament would be dissolved on February 13th, it still caught us “unprepared” when at 12:30 pm, the Prime Minister announced that the Parliament has been dissolved, paving the way for the 12th general election.

We called back the editors to work and managed to have the first run of Chinese “exclusive” out in the street by 3 pm, and the English “Extra edition” hit the street at 5 pm.

We were caught unprepared!

It is indeed a modern day parallel of the “Parable of the Ten Virgins”. This parable is also very appropriate today because it concerns a wedding. Tomorrow is Valentine Day, Love is in the air!

Ten young girls waiting to join the wedding party. They are expecting the bridegroom and therefore they are waiting expectantly. Five were well-prepared with lamps and spare oil. Five were not and thus the doors shut on them.

I draw a priceless lesson – be prepared and keep watch because we do not know the time of His return.

Some day in May
I’ll come to say
Happy the bride that
The sun shines on today.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have also an anniversary to celebrate today – my cyber home is entering its fourth year! (here and here)

No place like hoME

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“My house is my castle. I am the king there.” so said Lawyer VK Lingam to the royal commission probing the judge-fixing video clip. Lingam was emphasizing that he was entitled to talk ‘whatever rubbish’, whether bullshitting and bragging in his house.

How do homes relate to us?

Home is –
the place where we are most secure
where you find people most dear

Poet Robert Frost said of Home –
Home is a place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Here is another quote that I like –
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.
– John Howard Payne

I like this poem about home very much!

When I think of ‘home’ I think of cherry pies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of mulberry trees
When I think of ‘home’ I think of butterflies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of bumble bees

When I think of ‘home’ I think of hummingbirds
When I think of ‘home’ I think of sun brewed tea
When I think of ‘home’ I think of morning walks
When I think of ‘home’ I think of Grandma and me

When I think of ‘home’ I think of hidden trails
When I think of ‘home’ I think of lullabies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of signs of spring
When I think of ‘home’ I think of pumkin pies

When I think of ‘home’ I think of bedtime stories
When I think of ‘home’ I think of I think of honeysuckle
When I think of ‘home’ I think of roses blooming
When I think of ‘home’ I can’t help but chuckle

Because when I think of ‘home’ I think Heaven
When I think of ‘home’ I think of all thats kind
When I think of ‘home’ I think of dancing
When I think of ‘home’ Grandma comes to mind

Catlin L. Crawford

When you think of home won’t you think of people bullshitting and bragging?

If you read Chinese, here is one beautiful piece about home.

Do you have selective memory?

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Tun Mahathir was mocked of his “selective memory” by a group of six people calling themselves the Young Malaysians Secretariat. Tun is one of the star witnesses in the Lingam Tape Inquiry. Among other things, Lim Kit Siang described Tun as “uncharacteristically forgetful as to be prone to sudden bouts of amnesia on certain crucial events”.

How well do you remember? How good is your memory? As I advance in age, my memory does not serve me that well. Sometimes, I remember the face, but I forget the name. Sometimes, I remember the name, but I forget the face. Sometimes, I totally forget events that have happened! And on top of that, I am forgetful!

So it has always been my prayer to God that He will let me remember all the good memories of events and persons while erasing the bad ones. My little boy always gives pleasant surprises. Some two years back, he was sharing with me his memories of my late mother. The Lord received my mum back home when Chris was 5. I was surprised how well he could remember the little details of his grandmother. He said,

“If you choose to remember the good memories you will always remember, if you choose to forget the bad things, you will forget.”

Chris does make a lot of sense. We can be selective in what we want to remember!

What do you choose to remember? Let’s learn from the Wise One. The wise always remember acts of kindness. King Solomon acted on this principle. I was reading 2 Chronicles this morning. In 2 Chronicles 2:3, King Solomon wrote to Hiram, the King of Tyre –

Send me cedar logs as you did for my father David when you sent him cedar to build a palace to live in.

In this one sentence I read that King Solomon communicated to Hiram that –

You are trusted, remembered, and celebrated as a friend to those who need a friend!

Retirement means death?

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A good friend, Tie, retired some ten years back when her husband was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer. It was a sudden decision. Her husband died some months later. Now, she travels between Sibu and Singapore spending time with children and grandchildren. She is also active in church activities like children and senior citizens ministry.

I enjoy coffee with her on some not so-hasty days.

Tnay, also a good friend in the Girls’ Brigade retired some years back. She is still active in the Girls’ Brigade ministry and leading a very fulfilling life after retirement. She is single and has lots of love for the children of her siblings. She also travels to Cambodia for some missionary works now and then.

Jennifer and her husband Stephen work in Cambodia after their retirement. They were both school teachers before their retirement. Stephen is now the principal of a Cambodia school started by churches while Jennifer helps in the teaching of English to these students. Jennifer even runs the canteen of the school.

I am actually standing tip-toe looking forward to the retirement days! Even this piece of news by APF published in The Borneo Post today has not affected me –

Retiring to take it easy is a sure route to death, Singapore’s 84-year-old founding father Lee Kuan yew was quoted as saying yesterday.

Lee, who remains active despite his advanced years, told a conference statistics show that people tend to die shortly after retiring, and that the most important lesson he has learned is that we all need stimuli.

“If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for.”…

Lee added that he asks people who want to retire at age 62, “You really want to die quickly?”

While we watch our health, we work on challenges to get life going, death is still the end of our life on this earth. The death rate remains exactly what it has always been – a flat 100%.

In the infinitely unfathomable scheme of God’s plans, one’s life is perfectly timed – no longer, no shorter. But there is hope, isn’t it not? Of death, I love what D.L. Moody said,

“One day you will hear that D.L. Moody of Northfield, Massachusetts, is dead. Don’t you believe it! In that day I will be more alive than I have ever been before.”