Sunday, October 30, 2022

Preaching Aftermath (A hypocrite to be king)

I think it must be the rain. It rained all night and kept me up from time to time. By the time I got up it was 3.40am and I thought I should not go back to sleep because I was due to preach this morning at Sunday service. I did not read my notes until 6.30am as I spent two hours reading my manuscript on Galatians. There is still a bit of tidying up to do before I am happy with it. As the service only starts at 10am I did not feel I needed to rush but still gave it another two hours plus in final meditations and worship before the Lord.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

One more Week

I have read my book twice after the corrections came in from my proofreader. I wish I could find another person to check my manuscript but alas enough is enough. I have given myself one more week to read for a third time before my manuscript goes to the publishers. I have had three separate quotations but only one just priced at RM20.00 per copy. The other two, one mid-20s and one more RM30.00 per copy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

"A godless man shall not reign": Praying for Rishi and Boris (Job 34:30)

But I got a text yesterday asking for my sermon title for Sunday, I realised that it was time for me to take a break from my commentary writing, though I managed to persevere until past 11pm last night going through the excursus that takes up about 10 pages. But since 5am this morning, I was totally focused on sermon preparation and I texted the church clerk with my sermon title just before 9am. But why am I preaching from Job? The book of Job is a book of wisdom and philosophy. It contains much gems even from Job's three friends. Although, God judged them to have spoken wrongly about Job, however, it does not mean their speeches are worthless, or else so much of it would not be included in the book of Job that has come down to us as a biblical canonical book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Book’s Finishing Line

I got a pleasant surprise two days ago with my proofreader texting me that she had read 100 pages of my book in 2 days and will take a day more to finish. Yesterday she sent the manuscript back by courier which I hope to get by tomorrow. i can’t believe how this has worked out on schedule. Since then I had written 25 pages more in my last chapter and an excursus. When I get the manuscript I will do the corrections and check the references but practically the book is near the finishing line and by mid-November if all goes well, my final manuscript could be with my printers.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Completing a Commentary (Galatians)

I felt a sense of satisfaction when I went to my printers to print two copies of my manuscript as I reached the completion of my commentary on Galatians in Malay. I started by thinking I could write about 100 pages, then 120 pages but it is now over 150 pages and with the conclusion, it may reach 160 pages in all. I told my wife last night that it was a good book as I re-read the hard copy in my hands, and the other copy sent to my proofreader in a faraway village. If the proofreader could understand, then the intended audience of the Malay-speaking church should be able to appreciate this commentary on Galatians.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Second Reading & God's Word

Like the Acts of Parliament that go through a second and later a third reading before being voted on and approved by legislators, my manuscript has now gone through a second reading. In a couple of days, as I include a few more references and footnotes, I will send it to my proofreader who lives in a far away village (thankfully she could receive the draft through a friend who works in the nearest town). I hope by early next month in November I will receive my manuscript and proceed to do the corrections with the third and final reading. Then, by end of November it should be in the hands of the printers with the publication date to be just before Christmas, God willing.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Fall of the Ringgit

Today I have experienced something which I had never experienced before. The fall and fall of the Ringgit  is a spectacle to behold, especially against the Singapore dollar and the mighty USD. The last I checked it was MYR4.69 to 1USD. Maybe overnight,  it will breach 4.7 and soon in weeks it might fall into the unthinkable 5MYR to a dollar. Singapore dollar also rose strongly to 3.28 this afternoon and I think by month's end it could breach the 3.3 mark. Unimaginable just three months ago. So much politicking, what else are they doing to ensure the wheels of the economy are turning and the running of the government goes smoothly? No wonder it is early General Election. In fact, I welcome it as it might just put an end to intense politicking as after the General Election, at least for a year or two there will be some respite, if there is a stable government with a solid majority.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Preparing Paper Proposals

Conferences aplenty, but if only I am inspired to write two or three interesting papers. Three of my Conference papers are online and I am thankful that they are well received with a number of scholars communicating with me. Last night and this morning I have been contemplating in my mind what I should present for 2023's Conferences. First, I hope to get started with the Song of Songs since I just published a concise commentary on that. Second, for the book of Revelation, in an Apocylpticism Conference, I shall be proposing a paper on John's use of numbers with the sub-title as "sixes and sevens", if you get what I mean. Then, the third paper is on Galatians since I shall be completing a Galatians commentary by year's end, God willing. It will be just on one verse in Galatians 4 about keeping days. I hope to write something succinct that can be presented as a short paper within 20 minutes. By I hope to get more air time for my first two papers on the Song and Revelation. I will write the papers in full as soon as I finish editing my Galatians commentary which will take another 2 months or so. It's tough going this writing business. Yesterday, I managed to edit only about 10 pages because I was occupied with the above Conferences. It's been 6 years, and next year it will be 7 years since I presented two papers at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. Due to the pandemic my Conference attendance has been scarce. But there is a time for everything. Three years ago, I did not have a single book besides my published disseration on Revelation (2005), but now I might be publishing my fourth book in 3 years. It's a productive time, only God can inspire to write what is needed and provide all that is necessary for publication. Only Christ's name be praised.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Year of Conferences

The Biblical New Year is now well into its third week, the third day of Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles. Three years ago I almost went to UK for the IOSOT (International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament) and my paper on Malachi (The Covenant with Levi) is available on This New Year I am once again fired up to attend Conferences, maybe in July or September most likely if possible,  two Conferences, one in UK and one in Europe, killing two birds with one stone. I am more than ready to fly now that most travel restrictions are lifted.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Starbucks & the Song

I once wrote that most people prefer buying three cups of Starbucks coffee to buying a book, least of all from someone of no fame or familiarity. My book on the Song costs RM40.00 which is cheaper than three cups of starbucks coffee. I somewhat found myself in Starbucks having missed a junction planning to visit a bookstore holding a sale today. I saw on the menu board the cheapest type of coffee is RM13.95 per cup. I was right that people prefer drinking coffee to buying a theological book that could take up a year to write and they can enjoy much wisdom from it for at least a year or two.

Friday, October 7, 2022

After the Song, comes Galatians

This morning I designed the cover of my new book on Galatians over 2 hours. Yes, two hours of designing a cover which is not my forte but I am not going to pay anyone to do the work given the circumstances I find myself. I felt a sense of elation completing the first draft of the book, as it has been a total of eight months of work punctuated by preaching ministry that took me to Ranau in May and Ulu Tomani in August. After the Song was revised and completed in March 2022, I began my quest of writing a commentary on Galatians, a book I had not taught officially in my ten-year tenure as a Bible College lecturer, either in Sabah or Singapore. Given the circumstances I find myself in, would I trade this book that I had just written with RM30,000 fixed salary if I had stayed on in my job?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

One more Verse (Nehemiah’s Wall)

Just before I left for Kemabong on 18th August I prayed to the Lord to do a Nehemiah for me as far as my commentary writing was concerned. I prayed that when I came back from ministry I would complete my book within 52 days, the time it took Nehemiah to build the walls of Jerusalem. All surrounding nations knew it was not a human feat when the walls went up in less than 2 months. It is about 49 days since I returned from Kemabong and I only have one verse to comment, the last verse of Galatians.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A Day in the Life

Today is the most sacred day in the biblical calendar, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. As I listened to a semron preached yesterday from Hebrews, I read Hebrews this morning from ch. 1 to ch. 5. I had an early start knowing that I was going to meet a dear brother and fellow pastor at 10am. By 9.30am I already had two solid hours in writing but praised be to God that I have reached the last paragraph of Galatians. Only two months ago I had wondered whether I could get much done this year and now within 2 months I wrote about 20,000 words and another 7 or 8 thousand words will complete my writing.

Countering Hyper-inflation

Inflation is rising through the roof. It's between 20% to 50% where I am. Ta pao rice was Rm8.00 but now it is RM12.00. I just had lunch with pork rice costing RM15.00. If drinks are included it will be close to RM20.00. How do we counter inflation and hyperinflation? As for me, without a fixed income, many people will think it is doubly hard or I got hit by a double whammy. Yes and no in a way as we still live in the world and the ever falling Ringgit can only buy so much as the week goes by. Today it is RM3.25 to one Singapore dollar. When it was RM 2.4 to 1SDG in 2014, one of my friends told me to my face that I was mad to come back to Sabah for good. Those who know that I once held Singapore Permanent Residence would think that I was doubly mad to leave the good life behind.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Queen of the Sciences (Theology & Law)

From the Reformation or before that in the medieval age to about 18th century AD, theology is considered the queen of the sciences, the highest tertiary training one can get. After theology is law and only much later Medicine came to be ranked among the three most pretigious University degree qualifications. Luther trained as a lawyer before he turned into theology after the fateful vow he made when he feared for his life at a thunderstorm. Calvin's education was the reverse as he pursued law all the way before basically self taught himself theology while Luther held a formal doctoral degree in theology.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Last Quarter 2022

I am sitting at a table in a coffee shop, feeling on top of the world, not because I am rich or popular but because of the Lord. Inexpressible joy and peace beyond understanding. After almost a year since I relinquised my pastoral appointment, there is still no light at the end of the tunnel but this morning I spent a solid two hours commenting on Galatians 6:3-5.