Monday, October 21, 2019
There are times of health; there are times of illness. There are times one feels on top of the world; there are times one feels one can't get down any lower. In the past week of bodily weakness, I have had plenty of times to reflect on many things; perhaps in anticipation of my forthcoming 25th anniversary in the Lord's service. It is a Silver Jubilee worth celebrating, as no one is sure whether one will live to see its Golden Jubilee in another 25 years' time. Though, in all modesty, I plan to celebrate my 40th anniversary (Ruby Jubilee) in 15 years' time and perhaps one last time when I reach 75 years old, God willing. I have been reading Numbers 33 on "Starting Points" or "Departure Points" depending on what versions one might be reading.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
I don't think I have had a busier 48 hours in long time. Yesterday by noon I had settled on my book. The second book is about ready but I will put it on hold until I figure out where to store about 1,000 copies in my house or somewhere. Today was sermon preparation day. I managed to get one sermon ready for Pulau Banggi for next Friday service. I am preaching three times there, so two more sermons to go. Then this Sunday I am also preaching, so this afternoon I prepared for the Sunday message.
Monday, October 14, 2019
Robert Alter translates the usual phrase, the Feast of Tabernacles as a Festival of Huts. It is a time to build huts where all Israelites are to stay in huts or tents for 7 days throughout the Feast. Today is the Feast of Tabernacles. I attended a service last night but the preacher did not once mention the Feast, though his message was good and relevant to what I have been going through. The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of thanksgiving for all the blessings of God throughout the year. The Israelites gather their final harvest of grapes and olives toward the end of September and early October and the Feast on 15th Tishri (7th month) is marked by full moon, a sign in heaven, a kind of reminder that God is the Creator of the universe and the Master of Time and if He is the Creator (out of nothing), He is also the provider for His people, Yhwh Jireh. I give You thanks, O Lord for all Your grace and provision over these 5 years since I have been back in Sabah. For 50 months I had laboured in the mission fields, and harvests are plenty. And I am still labouring.
This is one principle that is hard to abide with and harder still to obey. I am called again to walk by faith. Nothing seems to clear on the horizon. In 24 hours' time, I have to make decisions that will determine the course of my life for 2020. Starting the 3rd decade of the 21st century by faith is a good omen. Entrusting oneself to God, not knowing where one is to go (Abraham) but still obeys and follows Christ is what delights God's heart for without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11).
Friday, October 11, 2019
Many things could happen in 24 hours. Yesterday was one such day. I submitted two manuscripts to two publishers. I went to see one at 10am and had a phone conversation with another at 3pm. Things are almost done. I dare believe that the Commentary on John's Gospel (1-12) will be published by 1st December (my 25th anniversary in full-time service) and the memoirs on my mission work by Christmas or latest Chinese New Year 2020. Now I have to find space to store 1,000 copies of books. I will probably build new book-shelves in my study-room, which is now in a big mess with boxes and unpacked notes and books lying around. It is time to spend some money. The publications will cost a fair bit and I will probably sell each book for RM50 or to my Singaporean audience (SGD20+10postage) or international buyers (USD20+10) for delivery and postage.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
I thought about it earlier this year how I was going to celebrate two milestones in my life and ministry, but completely forgotten about the second one until late last night when a former student formed a group and suggested a reunion of my former students who had been in my College home groups over the three years that I was there. Celebrating milestones is important. It is not for nothing that it is mentioned consistently that kings reigned when they turned 30 years old like David and Solomon, and then Jesus and John the Baptist. By December which is only 7 weeks away, I shall be celebrating my 25th anniversary in full-time service (Silver Jubilee). Without friends, there is no celebration. "Come friends, eat and drink fully," says the Song of Songs.
Monday, October 7, 2019
I thought I was going to enjoy my sabbatical this year and do much less travelling. But travelling I will do some more towards the end of the month up north again, crossing the seas and zig zag across the island where we have planted several churches. Today I managed to edit just some 5 pages of my book before meeting a former student who called me last week and we had more than 4 hours of fellowship. It is good to mentor young pastors and it was mutual encouragement to hear him remembering my times as Acting Principal and how in those short 5 months made a difference to many students. And I now have the opportunity to go to New Zealand for a writers’ scholarship for a month next year and per chance 2020 will be a sabbatical for me.
Friday, October 4, 2019
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The devil must have thought he had won when he saw Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. But that was the moment of the devil's defeat. It ...
If one really seeks after God, one would know His will because God delights to show His people His ways. Jesus said that, "if anyone wa...