Garbage In, Garbage Out

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In the past 2 months of Circuit Breaker, people have been nuahing at home the whole day and glued to anything rectangular – TV, phone, tablet and laptop – as a keyboard warrior on social media, posting on Instagram or Tik Tok, or drama or FB Live, bingeing die die also must have potato chips, ice cream or snack on hand to feed itchy mouth. Cannot tahan, the whole pack sure gone in no time and you grab more and raid the fridge. Alamak, with such lazy-bum lifestyle, little wonder all complaint kings and queens cry father cry mother that they are getting bui bui from being chronic couch potatoes. And aiyee, the pot bellies gets deeper and the muffin tops spill out more…

(P.S. Sounded like you and it is time for a detox: Garbage in, and garbage out? Let me offer you some slices of “bread” as a healthy option that won’t tip your weighing scale- Eat bread and live life to the full!)

“I (Jesus) am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Ever since I embarked on my newfound joy of making bread with my new toy as part of my “keep-me-sane” therapy, I have learnt a lot from “Bread”: from studying recipes to creating new inventions and learning about the entire baking process. It is not as simple as I thought which I once dismissed that bread is simply a clump of flour. Only when I am hands-on, did I discover that each ingredient, the quality right down to the quantity affect the outcome- each loaf turned out differently with different mixture, shape, size, colour, aroma, texture and taste. Individual ingredients need to be mixed well to form the dough, and the success of the bread lies in the kneading process that tested how well the dough is made.

The bread maker by default comes with preset menus for different made with its minimum duration. From time to time, I love to peer over the status monitor to check on the progress. I thought being mindfully watchful ensure the bread will be in good hands. I can’t hurry nor short-circuit the process otherwise the bread will not be baked well and the outcome may be ruinous! The entire process is long but somehow I have developed greater patience, as a result- Aren’t good things worth waiting for after all the hard work? Imagine the indescribable joy of witnessing the final product with satisfaction. 

Bread may be a simple staple food for everyone, but to me, it holds a deeper meaning – not just my love for this carbohydrate, it is a visual reminder that God, as my Provider, whom I can go to Him with a child-like petition to ask for provision each day:

Give (me) today (my) daily bread (Matthew 6:11). And which of you, being a father, will give a stone to his son, who makes request for bread or for a fish, will give him a snake? (Luke 11:11 BBE)

While physical bread represents an essential for survival, so God will ensure we are fed in order to live; Spiritual bread represents a necessity for sustainability, so God will provide all that we need to survive well. 

…for man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4

The kneading process also bring me to a deeper realisation that God’s handprints are in every details of my life- He is intimately aware of the ongoing situations; every pull, every tug, every grind, every turn, every pressure, every processes: He knows all my pain and counts all my tears. Each journey may be fraught with challenges and often offer new learning experiences, but God is always there and with us all the way. We can be assured that we are in His good hands, and will be provided for if we trust Him, day to day.

P.S. Never say bo jio – wanna taste my bread, private message me ha!

#SGUnited #StayHomeStaySafe #SinglishQT Series (5) QT: No-mess Spiritlicious Recipes For Good Health And For Life

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Everyone can guess that the trending posts on FB during Circuit Breaker period is “I also can cook!” Imagine it can be very kang kor for Singaporeans who love to makan are being barred from dining out. When the popular quick-fix fast food giant, MacDonald, suay-suay kenna infected with the COVID-19 virus, had to cease operations on 19 April, forced many to find alternatives to jiak. So since being “imprisoned” at home may as well learn to anyhow masak-masak up a storm and get to hao lian photo-bombing on FB and IG. And wah sei, some really machiam restaurant style. Lagi best, some anyhow agar agar chin chye hantam, throw in anything into the wok also turned out to be bagus siah! Really, it can be super leh chey and sian to da pao all the time. And every day eat same same can be jelat. So may as well check out recipes online and be creative as a chef-wannabe with homecooked food!

 

(Ok, enuff with the Singlish liao…)

 

And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. – 2 Corinthians 7:11 MSG

 

While relishing a succulent muffin, I got into my usual habit to dissect what ingredients that gave the muffin its flavourful oomph. Each individual ingredient, may be tasteless, but they are integral to the success of making the muffin as a whole. And when these ingredients are mixed together, the final first bite gives it its verdict.

 

And yes, the bible is our best “recipe” book we can turn to if we want “omphlicious” food that feed us spiritually. Just as physical food feed our body, we need spiritual food to feed our soul. And what we feed grows, what we starve dies. So when we eat well, we get stronger. And the more we eat, the bigger our muscles when we build them up. (By the way, it is harmless to binge on spiritual food and we will not grow out of shape too!)

 

Depending on our “craving” at the time, we will need the right “ingredients” from the bible, follow the “recipe” as instructed, and just have to wait patiently for the “timing” to get the final product. We can trust that the result is always to our “satisfaction” if we “follow” the “full” recipe correctly. But of course, we may not get it “100%” right all the time because of certain or unexpected “human and mechanical errors”. It is also necessary to go through more “trials and errors” in order to “improve” our “skills”, as each “process” offers different “learning” experiences.

 

Practice makes better. Nothing will go wrong if we fully follow the instructions given. After all, God’s the Teacher, we’re the students, so trust His training. There will always be something new to learn each day- so check out God’s “recipe” today, you can be assured of the most satisfying meal for the day (and minus the stress)!

 

#SGUnited #StayHomeStaySafe #SinglishQT Series (1) QT: Seriously Sugar Rush? 

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When our Prime Minister announced on the evening of April 21 that ‘Circuit Breaker’ (hereafter will be abbreviated as ‘CB’) had to be extended till June 1 with more safe distancing measures enforced to mitigate risks of infections within the community, especially some of the non-essential services have to be temporarily closed. One of the affected services was bubble tea, which caused an ‘uproar’ with tea-lovers scrambling down to get their sugar-fix before it ceased operation at 23:59! And the social media was abuzz with these stores busy on the ground with tons of orders for the night. Bubble-tea-lover-netizens expressed that they die-die must have this sugar-with-pearls-fix, otherwise can mati if do without for the next 30 days (or longer for crying out loud)! 

The posts sparked off two ‘acrid’ responses: (a) “Sure boh, simi logic? Seriously???”, (b) “Aiyoh, where is the safe distancing measure in place??”

Risks. When people have something they would die for, they would not mind taking the risks. The debate then is, is it worth risking your life for? Indeed not my ‘cup of tea’ to seek to understand the craze over this beverage.

But it inspired me to pen my thoughts behind this episode- The perpetrator is a great Tempter.

Many of us have sweet tooth and crave for sweets; some of us are merely bored and need to have some sweets; some of us are stressed and seek after sweets to destress; some of us turn to sweets as comfort food; some of us simply cannot resist the temptation to binge; and may be some of us are just tempted to follow the trend.

Temptations. Of course, temptations come in many forms, not just the sugar or the pearls- Tempted to rebel; tempted to complain; tempted to doubt; tempted to entertain negative thoughts; tempted to fear… and the list is inexhaustible. 

We made of flesh are susceptible to temptations from time to time, and vulnerable to the devil’s schemes. But it must be emphasised that Satan cannot make us do anything! It is our own choice either to listen to him and succumb or turn away from him and resist. Satan can entice us to sin but he cannot force us to act upon it. It is our sole responsibility how we respond with either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. And we can’t pin the blame on anyone if we choose to be subject to temptation.

But by the Grace of God, it is by His Word we can resist temptations- ‘He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)… Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ (Matthew 4:7) Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written,… (Matthew 4:10a).’

“It is written…” is a spiritual authority from the bible given to us as a weapon and as a defence shield. The bible is our first aid kit, survivor guide, life manual and ammunition pack, for life.

At such unprecedented season, the extended CB has affected all strata of society. So let’s face it squarely- life may beat us down, but we can live above it when we stand firm even when life’s headwinds gust our way. Instead of focusing all our attention on ourselves and the curveballs life throws our way, let us persevere by fixing our eyes on Jesus who is our Overcomer, and He has already provided the ‘sweet healthy pearls’ from the bible:

  1. Be aware of your weaknesses or hot buttons that Satan already know:

that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices. – 2 Corinthians 2:11

  1. Be watchful and mindful of being ensnared anytime:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

  1. Yield yourself to God decisively and the devil will flee:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

  1. Stop instantly to break the sin pattern or vicious cycle:

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. (1 John 3:8a) And give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

  1. Avoid situation that will tempt you:

abstain from every form of evil… – 1 Thessalonians 5:22

  1. Remind yourself of your position in Christ and Who is living in you:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

  1. Remember that God will not allow any temptation that you can’t handle and He will help you:

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

  1. Appropriate the power of prayer with “It is written…” or “God says…”

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12

The devil is already a defeated enemy when we are freed by Christ, and we who is “in Christ” live “in Christ” cannot be recaptured, unless we subject ourselves to practices of this fallen world where Satan is still very active. Remember, if you give an inch (2.54 cm), he (the devil) will take a mile (1.61 km)!

BE INTENTIONAL (12): Changes- It Is Time To Recalibrate Our Lives

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I am the Lord, and when it is time, I will make these things happen quickly. -Isaiah 60:22 NCV

It is often said that life is a like a game of chess – a strategy board game where every decision made on each move of a chess piece will impact the entire game. And each move will result in different outcome. 

By the same token, COVID-19 pandemic has effectuated changes in our lives that require us to adapt to everyday situations and adjust our expectations. Changes is fundamental for us to get our acts together.  

So what is God doing right now? It is time to recalibrate our lives and thrive in this season of crisis. We cannot remain where we are and expect to move with God, nor expect Him to move without doing anything.

And to quote someone, ”Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.”

We need not be victims of circumstances, though we do not have control over the external, but we have control over what we can do at best, and leave God the rest.

So changes is not necessarily a bad thing- There are times when God need to shake things up to force us to change – He is intimately aware that we will not move forward without a push. So He will put us in situations that will make us uncomfortable (in whatever our area of struggle) to stretch us and make us grow. His ultimate goal isn’t to make our life miserable but to push us to a greater purpose for His higher Glory.

Change, and we be changed too.

When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them. – Proverbs 16:7 NLT

So hang on tight, and trust that God will eventually bring something good out of it, one day.

I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer. – Micah 7:7 CEV

BE INTENTIONAL (11): If You Can’t Trace His Hands, Trust His Heart- Live One Day At A Time

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Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.

– Psalm 16:5

April 2020 marks unprecedented moments in this little red dot where our government had implemented the temporary 1-month “Circuit-Breaker” measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the communities: 

i. All staff to be deployed to work from home.

ii. Only takeaways from any food establishments.

iii. No social gathering allowed, even at home.

iv. Schools and retail stores (except supermarkets) are closed.

Almost everything has come to a screeching halt, and the downtowns look like ghost towns. Never in my lifetime did I witness such an impact nationwide, and for the first time, I felt so peaceful not having to jostle with the crowd on public transport and along the streets. This pandemic indeed has the world on tenterhooks: Feeling the blues from threatening financial security? Feeling the stigma of rued chances of “If Only…” for the times we have taken for granted? Grappling with great anxieties of the unknown that life is so unpredictable? Doubts assailed our minds and fears plagued our souls like relentlessly that we are left with all the “why?” that has no answer. And it is often said that life exigencies or adversity are God’s manure for spiritual “drawing-near” or callings to repentance or a greater intimacy with the Lord. 

That be true, we may also have forgotten momentarily that God’s perspective is way superior to ours (Job 42:1-5). His thoughts are so much higher than ours, that we do not always see His Goodness in painful situations, and instantly disregard His Goodness. His permissive will may allow bad things to happen for some reasons or for His Higher Purposes, but that does not diminish God’s Goodness. If we can’t trace His Hands in crises, but we can trust His Heart, eventhough we may not understand His ways- For those who love Him, He can bring good out of the worst circumstances (Romans 8:28). 

This Good Friday, remember too what He has done:

“Nails didn’t hold Jesus to the Cross. 

Love did.”

– Anonymous

We have not been forgotten, we are still loved yesterday, today and forever, so we can be at peace anchoring on this unassailable Truth. So let’s turn our raw guttural prayers into prayers that truly express what is in our hearts. We should not be seeking to remove ourselves from the pressure cooker of life, but adopt a heavenly perspective to use such pressure cooker to reveal the power, glory and grace of God through our lives to others, Galatians 2:20 reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

“It’s not how long you live, but how well you live.”

-Anonymous

P.S. How about taking this time too as an invitation to take stock of our lives to reconsider what is truly important and review our priorities, for life is more than just work, getting pay checks and chasing after the status symbols of this world.

BE INTENTIONAL: Fight or Flight- Lock down but not knock down

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Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. Psalm 44:5

SPECIAL THANKSGIVING FOR THE HEALTHCARE HEROES AT THE FRONTLINE BATTLING COVID-19:

No words can really describe how it has not been easy for all the healthcare personnels on the frontline, working tirelessly with the day to day demands in battling COVID-19 and coping under untold pressure. These unsung heroes have my utmost admiration for their great sacrifices, especially their time with their families. May they continue to stay resilient and God rewards them greatly. I would like to bless them with these verses:

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31). For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory (Deuteronomy 20:4).

Let us remember too we each have our part to play by exercising social responsibility, and together we can overcome! Keep strong and safe everyone!

——————

For the first time I felt the heat of “the gloom and doom” of the unprecedented season of COVID19 pandemic, that has the world in crumbles.

For the first time I have personally witnessed empty malls and people are getting 1-metre distant because of the new safety measures imposed for personal safety and protection from the spread of infection.

For the first time I can feel the intensity of the battle when the numbers of infected cases rising each day, as if earth is coming to its last day:

Borders are closed.

Entertainment venues are closed.

Enrichment centres are closed.

Schools are closed.

Offices are closed.

Malls are empty.

Food establishments are empty.

Streets are empty.

Events are cancelled.

Flights are grounded.

Salaries are cut.

Jobs are lost.

Deaths are counting……

Uncertainties, anxieties, insecurities and fears plagued everyone as news spread on social media like rampant bush fires. No one can really make sense of what is happening right now.

Does adversity mean God is not at work or His seemingly absence imply His nonchalance? Why don’t we consider hearing this Truth:

Hard times and trouble are God’s way of getting our attention! And at this very moment, God deeply desires to lead you from trouble and to spread your table with your favorite food. – Job 36:15-16 CEV

It is a wake up call that need our attention.

Cry out in the night… Pour out your heart like water in prayer to the Lord. – Lamentations 2:19 NCV.

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. – Genesis 50:20

We may be locked out but not knocked down- tough times don’t last but tough people do. Keep the hope and fight with faith, together with God, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:37).