thinkmorethantwice

April 16, 2007

Baptism Testimony – For we walk by faith, not by sight

Filed under: Christianity, Just thoughts — thinkthinkthink @ 12:59 pm

I finally got baptised yesterday at Covenant Evangelical Free Church. I was so blessed to have the family, close friends and faithful believers of the Lord to be my witnesses.

Below was the testimony which I shared during the service.

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2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight. 

For many years, I had walked by sight. My fairly smooth sailing life led me to believe that if I do good, I will be rewarded with good. There was no need for religion or God in my life. 

My sister Wai Yin and her husband Patrick Sin are faithful servants of the Lord. They are members of this church and have for many years been diligently praying and talking to me about salvation. 

However, as one who has always had a tight control over my own life – be it professional, social or financial, I didn’t see the need for God, or for that matter, any divine intervention.  

Until I got to know God, death was never an issue for me. It didn’t matter where I would end up when the day comes. 

Yes, life was good – I had a good although highly stressful job, in fact I was one of the youngest Asians to be made MD of a consultancy. I took at least 2 vacations a year. I have a cosy apartment and a nice car. On top of that, I have a very supportive and loving family and many good friends. I made all the decisions in my life, all by myself, and got to where I was. 

Everything seemed perfect, at least in the eyes of the people around me. I was fairly happy except for the one aspect of my life – a personal relationship. After praying about it for 7 years, and yet I didn’t get the answer I wanted, I decided it was time to seek further clarification. I wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ and perhaps an answer to my prayer. 

I remember ringing my sister one Saturday night in November 2003, asking her if I could visit her church. She, her husband, and children Rachel and Joshua were elated. Apparently, the kids have been praying for me for a long time. They know I am a very stubborn person and if I should decide to attend church on my own accord, there is hope.So, I went to church the following day and the congregation was rejoicing in Christmas carols. To me, Christmas carols were sung during the Christmas season as a form of celebration – so it should be all joyous. However, I cried incessantly instead. The same happened the week after and that’s when I felt the presence of God. Despite feeling embarrassed with the overflowing tears, I felt a sense of security and greater love. I accepted Christ that very day. 

From that day onwards, I tried to begin a life that is led by faith rather than sight.It was tough, and I admit I still find it difficult now, to fully trust Him in my walk….but I try. 

During that time, I was also contemplating taking a sabbatical from work. It was a challenging time as giving up the hard earned MD position translated to giving up a good income, the authority and recognition and worst of all, an uncertain career future. 

I knew subsequently that I had been blessed during the time before I accepted Christ. But I tell you, I was blessed many times over after I accepted Him as my saviour. The biggest gain really was being at peace with myself and having the opportunity to build an uncompromising relationship with God. He proved to me time and time again that He loved me and provided for me. 

In the last 2 years, I enjoyed a tremendously good time of my life. I had no regrets of quitting my job, for He provided me with more than sufficient. He blessed me with clients so I could work as a consultant on a 2-3 day a week basis. I then had time for my parents and family, my nieces and nephews whom I have so neglected and friends. Most importantly, I could put aside work commitments to participate in the BTW, dawn prayers and also foster my relationship with God.  

I find my life to be so much richer. Even the surgery I had to undergo last year turned out to be a blessing…I had many non-believers and pre-believer friends praying for me. Friends of friends also prayed for me. In fact, I was glad that the discomfort I had to go through renewed the faith of many and brought a new light to some. 

God was very real. 

Today, I find peace from within. I finally comprehend that I can’t live life based on my own blueprint. He takes charge. Walking by sight is not an option, faith is. 

The power of prayers is immense. I only discovered recently that many people have been praying for my salvation. I want to thank them for their unstinting faith and prayers – my sister Wai Yin, her husband Patrick, their children Rachel, Joshua and Tricia, Patrick’s family, Danesh, Aggie, Joanne Kwan – an ex colleague and friend who is here to witness my Baptism, and many, many others. I am sure God heard them loud and clear and I have hence benefited from their prayers. 

Allow me to say a few words about Joanne. Jo is unfortunately afflicted with cancer and has been battling the illness for several years.  

Alex, her husband, and she have been faithful followers of the Lord. Despite the physical and emotional pains which they have to go through, they are always spirited and live a positive life. Jo has been an excellent influence on the many people around her.  

The young couple started a blog to detail their journey of faith during the trying times. With each hurdle they crossed, they felt tested but remained resilient. I am certain they have touched many lives through their praise for the Lord during the challenging moments.  

I know Jo asked the question recently if she has done enough for God. I want Jo to know that she has done a lot and she has certainly reaffirmed my faith in Him. He knows she has served Him well and will continue to do so for a long time to come. So, Jo, stay strong and live out your life in His will. 

I want to end my testimony with a verse which I picked up from their blog. Jo’s and Alex’s faith have been infectious. From Hebrews 11:6 – 

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. 

Amen.

March 28, 2007

Brown and Green

Filed under: Just thoughts, Things I like — thinkthinkthink @ 12:50 pm

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 Went for a walk by the park this afternoon. Tried out a friend’s camera ‘cos mine has gone bonkers. Looks like it goes well with me 😉

March 17, 2007

MINT Museum of Toys

Filed under: Family, Just thoughts, Things I like — thinkthinkthink @ 5:00 pm

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It was the school holidays week. As it was only a short one week, the family decided to spend it in Singapore.

On Thursday, packed into 2 cars, we headed for MINT Museum of Toys (http://www.emint.com) as we thought the displays will surely intrigue the kids. The kids had fun, but mainly because they couldn’t believe how basic and in some ways ugly the toys used to be. The superheroes, Batman and Superman were simply over weight. Some collections such as the Monkees and Beatles memorabilas were just beyond the kiddos. They were most impressed by the car collections.

The adults, on the other hand, had an excellent time – enlightened and reminisenced over the historical artifacts. The experience certainly was nostalgic and brought back fond memories. I suppose creativity in children was more pronounced in the past, when they had to imagine and improvise play with the basic toys they had.

In any case, the Museum is worth a visit as its collection spans 25 countries over a 100 year period. It’s fascinating to spot a blond Snow White  – apparently the Japanese who made this version presumed Snow White was blond!

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March 13, 2007

Sabbatical – my checklist

Filed under: Just thoughts — thinkthinkthink @ 1:40 pm

First, my apologies for being lethargic about blogging. The post operation rest made me lazy.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers, well wishes, flowers, gifts, company and taking care of me during the recovery period. I am pleased that I have been given the  “all clear” by the surgeon on 3 March. 

As I am about to return to the corporate world, I thought it’s time to take stock of my life. 

It’s almost 2 years since I started my sabbatical or part sabbatical….actually it’s more like quitting the job to take a break.

The 2 years have been fantastic, initially a little worrying but ultimately the decision has led to a blessing in many ways.

I decided today to take stock and review how I have spent the last 2 years:

Things I wanted to do and found time to do (somewhat). Ticks in the boxes:

1.  Spend time with family (my Thursday afternoons spent with the niece in a small way helped her top her class last year 🙂 and we had fun yakking, shopping and playing)

2. Travel, travel, travel (made several trips to visit friends and spent time with family; 2 more trips planned for April)

3. Get to know God and strengthen my relationship with Him (reaped spiritual rewards with participation in the Breakthrough Weekend, Dawn Prayers; will be baptised on 15 April)

4. Spend time with friends (renewed many old friendships and fostered new ones)

5. Learn to be a little more tech savvy (started journaling and also started this blog; I even gave a presentation on new media and corporate blogging at a PR conference in Bangkok!)

6. Get physical and start an exercise regime (bought an Ipod shuffle so I am more motivated to move my butt…started with walks but have not been diligent)

7. Read (not enough)

8. Start my own business (was blessed with many good clients for my consulting business last year)

Things I wanted to do and didn’t find time to fulfil. Crosses in the boxes:

1. Learn to play the flute (it’s lying in its case …. a white elephant!)

2. Start Pilates or Yoga

3. Take cooking lessons in Provence

4. Sign up for Chinese calligraphy classes

Hmm… looks like I’ll need another year to do all these. I suppose except for the lessons in Provence, I could still manage the rest in parallel with the new job.

Yes, the new job awaits in mid April….

For now, I am just trying to make the most of what’s left of my sabbatical.

December 1, 2006

Scare, Prayers and a Walk with God

Filed under: Christianity, Just thoughts, Things I like — thinkthinkthink @ 10:36 am

After a hectic October, I decided to slow down. Besides making plans for Christmas shopping, dinners with friends, nieces and nephew stay overs and holidays, I thought it was time for a medical health screening as well.

Last Thursday, I made my way to the medical centre for a complete health check. I had procrastinated this for a while for the very same reasons most people have.

The immediate ultrasound scans detected a 10.6 x 10 x 8 cm complicated mass in my lower abdomen and the doc sent for immediate cancer markers tests.

I returned to the centre on Friday, only to learn that the results indeed reflected a somewhat high marker for a tumour in the lower abdomen and a slightly high indication on the liver. I was scared, very scared, as the doc went through several possibilities of the results.

Immediately, I prayed and then rang a friend who referred a Prof SK Tay to me. I rang SGH for an appointment and was informed that the surgeon’s schedule is completely full till the following Friday (which is today). I told the the hospital staff I need and earlier appointment because of the test results. She then immediate spoke to the professor who make an exception to see me the following Tuesday morning. That was the first blessing I recieved from the Lord Jesus. I had never expected a practioner in a government hospital to go the extra mile for me.

Tuesday came. The surgeon spent some 30 to 40 minutes with me explaining his perspective of the issue and also the options for surgery. I had to sign a consent form to trust his judgment at operation time whether to remove the mass or more than the mass. I thank God that He could fit me into his surgery schedule the following morning. At 0630am on Wednesday, I checked into the hospital.

While I was praying alone at the reception I held on to the Lord Jesus. I was calm because I felt His presence. More prayers were sms’ed to me at 0730am. I was in the operating theatre by 0830am. As I lay on the operating table, I joked with the medical staff. The next thing I knew, I was wheeled back to my room at about 1120am. I was happy and felt alive again. I said my prayers and the first flowers and visitor arrived. I had no pain nor discomfort. I slept most of the day and didn’t need painkillers (which was dumb, I suppose). Thank the Lord.

Thursday and Friday came and went and I had lots more flowers and fruits. As I looked out of the window with the rain pelting down, I felt a sense of peace and restfulness.

On Saturday morning, Prof Tay came to check my wound. He was happy with the surgery and discharged me.

The last few days have been great. I experienced no nausea, minimum discomfort, ate well, slept well and prayed.

Today, Prof Tay again made an exception to review my condition. He was all smiles when he saw me. He said I looked happy and well.

The external wound has healed nicely. Now I only need to focus on eating well, resting well for the next two to three weeks.

I can even go for a movie or to a restaurant for a nice meal. I really count my blessings.

Next review in 3 months time, the third of March.

I want say that my walk with God has been made more real and He is faithful if you trust Him.

I’m thankful for His love and pray that many non-Christians or non-praying Christians have also been touched by Him through this process.

While I have been blessed during this process and thank all of you who prayed, I have one request. A dear daughter of God who has been an influence in my accepting Christ is suffering from a far worse affliction than I had. You can see her and her husband’s blog here.  She and her husband have remained faithful throughout. I ask for your prayers that God who can heal, will heal her completely.

Thanks to the Lord Jesus for being merciful to me and ask the same for His daughter, Jo.

Amen.

October 17, 2006

Piñata and Chocolate Fondue for a Birthday bash!

Filed under: Family, Things I like — thinkthinkthink @ 9:43 am

It was my niece’s three-year old birthday party. My sister and brother-in-law, the ever pampering parents, decided on a kids party filled with muchies, games and of course candies.

I offered the chocolate fondue for the party which turned out to be the hot favourite. Adults and children alike were rooted next to the fountain and binging on strawberries, kiwis, bananas, grapes and marshmallow sinfully coated with a thick layer of chocolate.

Another highlight which I personally enjoyed was the Piñata (please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinata for full description). Unfortunately, I could not capture the delight on the children’s facial expressions as the pinata broke and the “candy rush” began. I certainly recommend the Pinata for parties!

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Tricia, birthday gal, could not wait to eat the cake she ordered!

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Joshua, Tricia’s brother, was the hero who broke the Pinata.

October 8, 2006

Stewed Chestnut Chicken with Tofu and Garlic

Filed under: Food, Things I like — thinkthinkthink @ 12:53 pm

I was in the mood to cook – a one dish affair for dinner. The last few weeks of travel and dining had me craving for a home cooked meal.

With what I had at DD’s home, I created a simple stew of chestnut chicken.

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I lightly sauteed garlic in garlic olive oil, then added marinated chicken thighs to lightly brown the chicken parts. The thighs were pre-marinated with huatiao jiu (Chinese wine), sesame oil and lots of white pepper.

When the chicken pieces were nicely sealed, place peeled chestnuts, carrots and tofu in the pot. Stir and add some water with more huatiao jiu. Let the meat and vegetables simmer till the chicken is tender, the chestnuts and carrots soft and the tofu has nicely absorbed the gravy.

As DD is abstaining from salt, I served the dish as it is. Very satisfied with the new creation.

The chestnut peeling was a painful process initially. Then, I discovered that boiling them for 2 minutes made the peeling a whole lot faster and easier on the fingers!

September 24, 2006

Children of God

Filed under: Family, Just thoughts — thinkthinkthink @ 9:07 am

The week has been great despite hectic travels the two weeks prior. Although initially intimdated about sharing the faith as I feel I lack depth in the knowledge of Christianity, I had several opportunities to engage family, friends and colleagues in the conversations about the faith.

I was encouraged by a brother who joined me in persuading my mom (and dad ‘cos he would go with my mom’s decision) to go to church. Inspite of not soliciting a straightforward yes, I think she has at least opened her mind to it. I now pray for them to go to church with me. It will definitely help open up my dad’s world, I think….but more importantly, I pray for their salvation.
As I spoke to my 9-year old niece and 8-year old nephew about it, they readily commit to prayers. In fact, the niece candidly said, “If they cannot come to church, why don’t we take church to them?”. Oh wow, that’s pretty profound from a 9-year old. She further added that we could provide my parents, their grandparents, with CDs of sermons and songs of worship.

That’s an excellent idea, I thought. Truly, they are children of God.

Matthew 19:14 (New American Standard Bible)

14But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

September 17, 2006

Eating on the Plane…and maybe prior to

Filed under: Just thoughts, Travel — thinkthinkthink @ 3:21 pm

I have forgotten how bad airline food can be.

I had 2 back to back trips in the last 2 weeks. Thai Airways business class to Bangkok and Singapore Airlines economy to Hanoi.

I had been on both airliners before and had always found the food palatable as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all offer fairly decent cuisines.

However, these recent trips reminded me of trips long ago when food was really quite repulsive. The meals were over cooked and over salted. The wines were high in tanins and coffee/tea diluted.

What happened to proclaimed better menus and award winning onboard services?

On both return flights, I opted for just water. Perhaps we should have the option to not have meals for lower fares.

I must remember to have my fill before I next board a flight again!

August 28, 2006

Golf and Family

Filed under: Family, Things I like, Uncategorized — thinkthinkthink @ 6:08 am

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Just when I was about to give up golf (‘cos of all that frustrations trying to play it well), the family decided on a game at Pulai Springs Resort in JB yesterday.

Notwithstanding a slight drizzle, the weather was perfect for a round of the game.

It was slow, as we were held up by the flight ahead of us and we took a whole 5 hours to complete the 18 holes…my longest I think, save for rain breaks during other occasions.

Nonetheless, we had plenty of bonding time. There was no pressure and I truly had a great afternoon. Perhaps, I should hold that thought of giving up afterall….

We pigged out at Perling Town (a very small town in JB) after the game. Amongst us, we shared wanton noodles, char kway teow, buk kut teh, popiah (with coleslaw stuffing as well as the normal turnips), pan fried dumplings, rojak and ngo hiang. Hmm….some of these were better than the ones in Singapore!

The confectionery also offered great bargains…a loaf of whole wheat bread for RM2.00.

T’was a good day!

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