Tuesday, March 29, 2022

My Protector God (LXX Psalm 30; MT31)

On Sunday and yesterday I meditated deeply in God's Word from the Psalms as usual. David with all his experience of life is the man's man. There is a Psalm for every situation in life and God intended the book of Psalms to be so. When I cry out to God and He answered, "I am your protector God". Protection from what, you may ask? Since human beings are so self reliant and mock those who are helpless and look to God for help.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sunday Service

Service can mean several things. First, Sunday worship with preaching. Second, it is what we do in response to God’s love, either in service to God or to men for the glory of God. Now that my Sundays are “free” I have more time to do service for others. One is service to my family especially my elderly mother. Before this, Sunday is the busiest time of my ministry and at best I can afford Sunday evening if there is a family event.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Writing Commentaries & Bilingualism

In terms of genre, Song of Songs and Galatians can't be further apart. But I have been working on both for quite some time now, taking more than 4 months (Dec 2021-March 2022) to revise my concise commentary on the Song, completed just before the Feast of Purim on the 16th March. Since then, I have been working hard on my Galatians commentary which I am writing in Malay. At the risk of self-promotion, to the best of my knowledge I have not come across any bilingual scholar in Malaysia who have published in two languages, perhaps there are some in English and Chinese Mandarin but I can't name even one author who has published in English and Malay, our national language as far as theological books are concerned. After nearly 60 years of Malaysia Federation coming into being (Sept 1963), issues of languages still plague the political debates.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

EPF, Retirement Savings & Money Matters

A country needs strong leadership, not populist policies catering to the majority while doing harm to society in the long run. I could not believe my eyes and ears when I read a few days ago that the government agreed for the fourth time to allow Malaysians to withdraw from their Employees' Provident Fund which is really a retirement fund for retirees in their latter years and old age. Some statistics make depressing reading. About 48% of Malaysians have less than RM10,000.00 savings in their EPF which means once retired, that amount of money can last perhaps 12 months at the most while most retirees live for another 20 or 25 years. No wonder Malaysia are trapped not only in a lower-middle income bracket but too many people remain poor and some are really poor. Too many people are poor if you can digest the numbers and figures given by the EPF management. Salaries are low, that's why after many years of working they still average RM10,000.00 in their EPF accounts. I can well understand this as I identify with wage-earners, a low wage-earner for that matter. Sabahans' average family income is RM5,700.00 which makes us one of the poorest States in the country as the national average is almost double that.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Middle of the Season

I came across a blogpost I wrote on 31st January 2017, right in the middle of my 4-year period in Ranau which ended on 31st January 2019. I read a passage there that my Triton had done 35,000 kms over two years and yes it was right in the middle as when I came back to KOTA KINABALU I would have done 70,000kms in 4 years up the mountains and down the valleys. I miss my pickup truck. Sometimes I feel I should not have sold the car. Now when I travelled to outstation, I get worried about potholes and flash floods which my Triton had traversed many times.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

A Real Sadness: Church Entry and No Entry

I woke up with joy perhaps an overflow from last night when I worshipped in my study singing along a song I recorded last September. I was overjoyed that I said I might enter the church today incognito (curi curi masuk) but this morning when I turned on my former church’s online service, a real sadness descended upon me and I could not watch any longer but mourned silently before the Lord. How incredulous the church found itself to be in, subject to the rule of men, bound by fear of Covid19 rather than the fear of God and His commandments. Prove to me that Jesus would exclude someone from worship in the assembly of the saints based on vaccination status. Show me your theology and Scripture and I will prove you wrong by the word of the Lord.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Keeping Up with Tech

I have just readjusted my table set-up in preparation for writing a new book. It's sea change for me and it gave me new impetus and I have written the first 1,500 words of my Galatian commentary in Malay within the last 24 hours. I know the market for my Malay books is small but I serve this indigenous community that needs all the help they can get, whether they appreciate it or not. I invested some money on new tech. Not new tech but 18-month old tech, Apple M1 Mac Mini which came out October 2020. My MacBook Pro 13 inch had gone past 4 years old and with only duo core and 256GB memory, it is slowing down. For the past 12 months, I kept deleting files to make room for me to save newer files and videos. So a few days ago I decided to take the plunge and bought a Mac Mini and a Magic Trackpad.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Segregation & Division & the Will of God

For many weeks now, I have been meditating and reflecting on why so many Christians just take things so calmly as if there is nothing wrong in segregating or excluding other believers from Sunday worship. They may justify it on many reasons but at the end of it, they do not know the mind of Christ in this matter and they happily go about with their human and worldly wisdom. I was reading Acts 26 and one verse struck me was that Paul (before his encounter with the risen Christ) was convinced that he was serving God by opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. When the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus asked him, "Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Persecuting Christians or Christ's disciples is persecuting Christ himself.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Finding my Purpose

I have not been short of ministry besides preaching from the pulpit. Like Elijah sent to a widow but not to others in the 3 and a half years of drought and famine, I have ministered to those in need spiritually. Never a week passes without me doing something significant according to the will of the Lord. I accompanied a friend to a police station about 10 days ago and it was my first time back in the police's KK headquarters in Kepayan since I represented a client/accused in 1992. Yes, 30 years ago! It was in a completely new building and things have changed. But human beings do not change and I have opportunity to minister to a couple of police officers, not sharing the Gospel openly but giving a piece of advice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Melancholy & Sadness

I told my wife that today I felt a sudden sadness. Perhaps I have been reading too much of the prophets. Most people don't read the prophets and that is why they can go living merrily without a concern in the world. Solomon writes that if one increases knowledge, he increases sorrows (Ecclesiastes). Ignorance may be bliss but spiritually dangerous. I read Ezekiel in the morning and Jeremiah in the evening. I read from both the Hebrew and the Greek with NETS and also my recently acquired Lexham English Septuagint. I read from Ezekiel 2 to 12. And this evening I read from Jeremiah 9 which has a passage that says, "Who is the man wise enough to understand this? Who has the Lord spoken to, that he may explain it?" (Jeremiah 9:12). Surely, we need wisdom but very few are wise.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Scholarly Pursuits

The wisdom of Sirach which did not make it as part of the canon tells us that scholarly pursuits require much leisurely time (Sirach 39). I have been staying at home for more than 5 months and the past two months revising my book on the Song of Songs. Sometimes I despair of taking so much time, revising and re-writing and editing my book. But today I came to the realization that God is eternal and dwell in timelessness, though He is the creator of time which He will wrap up in good time and return to a time when it is called "time is no more" (Rev 10:6).

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Why Leadership Matters

Leadership is vital and essential for the growth of the Church or for any spiritual endeavour to succeed. In the past week, there are many happenings in Kota Kinabalu. Most of the newsfeed tend to the negative and worrisome, but sometimes we need to appreciate that many people are suffering. Some suffer when they fall sick due to Covid-19 infection. Some suffer when they lose their jobs and livelihood. Some suffer as a result of wars and have to flee to a safe haven in Poland or Romania. But many suffer as a result of failure in leadership. For us believers, it is not just a matter of avoiding evil or sin but actively doing good or seek to do good whenever opportunity avails us. "He who knows to do good but fails to do so sins". It is the sin of omission.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Survival & Obedience

I know some of my friends are extremely concerned for me, not so much for my health which is fine (thanks be to God) but for my financial well-being. Even a pastor friend who dropped by last week asked how I was coping and how I was surviving without a "job". As for more than 27 years in ministry, I never once considered what I am doing a "job", not even a "ministry" as some would understand it, but more as "obedience" like what Paul said that, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly calling" (Acts 22). Often-times, even among Christian circles and clergymen see ministry as a career for advancement either in authority and power or financial gain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The Month of February 2022

I ended the month of February without a sign from the Lord when the SOPs restricting my ministry would be loosened. Around the world, in India, Sweden, Denmark and England, many of the restrictions which were put in place due to the Covid-19 virus have been removed. I hope in the Lord that it won't be too long in Malaysia, preferably by year's end when travel restrictions would be eased for one and all. Anyhow, it has been a fruitful February, literally and spiritually. Literally, just as the sunset was near last night, I plucked two combs of bananas from the bottom of the hill behind my house.