Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Why Fwens Matter

Fwens =)))
Image copyright Ian Ho 2010

It's better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there's no one to help, tough!

Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.

By yourself you're unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message)

Current mood: thankful for the few close friends that God has placed in this season of my life =)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

More Precious Than Smoke

Just back from my Taiwan trip! Overall, it was a positive once in a lifetime experience. Thought it would be appropriate to share with y'all a journal entry I wrote there:

Sunday, 21st Nov 2010

Today ended on a sour note. Being the end of our two day outfield rehearsals for the upcoming ex. warrior, we were all exhausted and wanted to head back to camp for a well-deserved rest. But the unpleasant had to happen. While checking our equipment, one of us realised that a smoke grenade was missing.

Unlike in Singapore, being overseas meant that every bit of RAI (ammunition) had to be returned, even a common item like smoke. I knew we were in for quite a bit of trouble and hassle. Losing any equipment is a big no no! There was much debate as to where it could have been left behind, who threw it and so forth. I watched the entire scene unfold - my PC keeping quiet showing a face of discontent, while the appointed sect comds busy sorting things out.

The smoke grenade HAD to be retrieved from the field. Reluctantly, we loaded up the tonners again and headed back to the training grounds in search for the needle in the haystack. By then, it was getting dark. It was only 6plus in the evening, but here the day ends by around 5plus 6ish. You know it seemed to me like making a mountain out of a mole hill. I mean, it's just a harmless smoke grenade right? YET we would go all out to retrieve it, despite the fatigue, the darkness, the hassle of activating the vehicles and all.

Cut the story short, we did eventually recover the smoke. It was a timely reminder for all of us to not be complacent and to constantly and physically check equipments.

It sounded a little absurd that almost the whole platoon went on a hunt for a measly green bottle-sized canister containing smoke. But then I thought - is it really that crazy? Wouldn't you go all out for something that really mattered to you?

At that instant I was reminded of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for me. We are just like that smoke - small, insignificant, unworthy, but yet strangely precious. If we humans would go all out to find a precious item that went missing, how much more would our heavenly Father? Isn't it the craziest act in the entire universe that a God almighty would give His son just so that I could be found.. saved? I am just so so precious in His eyes - a million times more precious than a smoke is to the SAF. God wouldn't just let me go like that if I'm lost. And likewise, He wouldn't let you go missing too.

We can never escape the grip of His love, grace and mercy.. simply because WE MATTER SO SO MUCH TO HIM. And there's nothing we have to do to prove our worth - Jesus has proven it on the cross. Isn't that just such a beautiful and comforting thought?

The simple truth I learnt that day: If ever I was lost, God would go all out to draw me back into his arms, because He loves me too much to let me go just like that(:

If ever I was lost
You said that all You feel for me
Is undying love
That You showed me through the cross

I'll worship You my God
I'll worship You my God
I love You
I love You..

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Image copyright Ian Ho 2010 (Click to enlarge)

Whatever you're caught up in, set aside some time to refresh and recharge.  We all need this simple reminder.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

When Everything Falls

Images and post by Ian Ho

It's amazing how God uses the most mundane things to inspire.

I was walking home just now and passed by this particular house, at the end of the road, under renovation works. Wooden boards surrounded the house, and from the front my eyes saw a mess - a clutter of wooden scaffolding, sand, bricks, construction materials and what not. I recalled how this house used to look like before the wreck that it is now, and that's when the analogy struck me: Like this torn-apart building, sometimes God tears apart things in our lives too, because He wants to rebuild them into something new, something better. I'm sure the renovated house will look much cooler than it was before.. if not, what's the point?

This concept of tearing apart to build up again... did you know it happened during Bible times? Perhaps Noah understood it best - he and his family were the only ones who lived through the big flood, saw everything get wiped away and put back together again. (Yes, kinda like Deep Impact :D)

Now why did God do that? I mean, when he created mankind and everything, He did say that it was good, right? Genesis 6 explains it, and also captures God's sadness and anger.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Genesis 6 is all doom and gloom. When something goes so wrong, so ugly, I guess it's natural to want to destroy it all, start afresh. But there's a happy ending to it all. After He wiped the earth away, when the flood subsided and Noah the faithful came out to "increase in number and fill the earth", God promised never to repeat history again.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.” -Gen 8:22

Maybe Noah's story is happening right now in your life.

Sometimes we can't see the full picture - things seem to be falling apart, tearing at its seams, life looks all wrong, like nothing's going right, no prayer being answered. But look at it from another perspective: maybe He's tearing you down just to build you up again, to build something even better than before.

I'm reminded of the verse in Haggai that my church's youth ministry held on to as we embarked on our own season of breaking down and building up:

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.
The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty.

The simple truth here is this: when everything falls, remember it's a time of transformation, not demolition. The ending will be blue skies and red roses, so hold on!

Sorrow will last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun, its rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome, You have overcome

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Kidding

Image copyright Ian Ho 2010 | Post by Ian Leong

Have you seen the look in kids' eyes when they've got their sights on something they reallyyy really want? It's like they're lost in their own little fairytale world; away from the stressful reality of life.

I was at the sky garden atop the MBS and there was this clown - like a real clown, im not insulting anyone - blowing things up and giving them to little children. (Ok fine those things were balloons but isn't 'blowing things up' cooler than 'blowing balloons up'?)

He could make flowers and lions and all sorts of flowery and liony things, but this one kid - he's gonna make it big someday - he wasn't happy with just flowers or lions, nooo. He wanted a dragonfly.

I know, it doesn't sound very impressive but believe me, that dragonfly was a lot more dragon than it was fly. It was made up of (i think) 4 or 6 balloons (yes, for one dragonfly) and took him most of 10 minutes to put together. Even to an art-tard like me, that brightly coloured insect was a little flashy. To the trained and seasoned eye of the 5 year old kid though, it was the eighth wonder of the world.

His face shone in anticipation as he stretched his pudgy hand out to receive it, and the twinkle in his eyes as he took it put the stars to shame.(yup even the honeystars. his eyes are so swweett!)

He was taken to another dimension, far away from the things of this world. It was just him, and the dragonfly; nothing else mattered. Time ceased to exist as he pranced around the clearing waving his winged companion about, having the time of his life.

What i would give to be back in his shoes, living that blissfully ignorant life. To be away from the worries that trouble us daily, the deadlines we have to meet and appointments we have to keep, the things that needed doing and.. and the coffee that keeps us going!

What i would give, to be free again.

Ok that was slightly melodramatic, but c'monn wouldn't you like to be in his shoes too?! I'm sure we all remember those days we were lost in our kiddy reverie - a James Bond action film - sound effect and all - running through our minds as we pushed action figures about for the guys, and a heartwarming romance for the girls as you fussed over barbies.

Remember the awe you felt when you saw your first rainbow, the fear at deafening peals of thunder? What about the warm fuzzy feeling inside when your parents hugged you during a storm and told you everything was gonna be alright? Things were all nice and dandy, simple really. Then..

Then we grew up.

The innocence of childhood was left behind in favour of independence and our desire for freedom - for the right to decide what we do with our lives, and the power to choose. The Real World engulfed us, and we gave in without a struggle.

Gone were the days of silent contentment, of sitting around playing quietly for hours with our toys. Today, there's never enough time to do all we need to do. It's always one assignment after another, snowballing into an avalanche threatening to squish us into mush.

We're worried about one thing or another, wondering how this is gonna work out or how that's not. We spend days thinking about issues with our friends and issues with - wait a sec...

What happened to the good ol' memory verses that God knows our way, and He's got a plan? What happened to "He's Able", or even that awesome reminder 'bout "what a Friend we have in Jesus"?

I'm not saying we've forgotten these truths, or that we've lost sight of what's important in life through the years, but perhaps maybe - just maybe - in our rush to grow up to move on, we've forgotten what it's like to be a child.

A kid, eyes fixed on God and God alone, sitting quietly by the riverbank (i wouldn't pick the singapore river if i were you; it still stinks pretty bad) just talking to Him, spending a little quality time with Him. Pouring out the troubles of your heart and knowing that hey, I'm just a kid man, (cue simpleplan music) i can't handle this stuff. But God - man, He's old - He'll handle it just fine.

Nothing else mattered; time ceased to exist as i ran about in the presence of my Daddy God.

It isn't easy, but maybe it's time we put a hold on growing up, and learnt to be kids again.

Some after-thoughts by Ian Ho:

Indeed, as ironic as it may seem, sometimes growing up and maturing in Christ means to be like a child again. After all, as the Steven Curtis Chapman song puts it, we're all children of God, sons and daughters and almighty God is our father. To be as pure, innocent and carefree as kids are, dependent on our father for support and guidance and trusting in His ways - I think that's what the phrase child-like faith means. A word of caution though: child-like faith isn't the same as a childish faith. There's a huge difference!

Anyways, to whoever who's reading this, hope you've enjoyed our very first post!