Rain

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Rain speaks of times of refreshing, providence, abundance, victories, blessings, breakthroughs, whichever you need in your current time of need. The Bible says He has given us the former rain faithfully, that speaks of the ‘first fruits’ of blessings – past victories, blessings and breakthroughs. But you got to understand that that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just appetizer. The teaser of the banquet spread. God says I will bring the latter rain. That means God is not a one hit wonder. This is important because when we understand God’s character and intent, that helps give us a framework at how to do life and how that life will work out.

Most importantly, the latter rain speaks of fulfillment (of the promise). In the context of those days, farmers needed rain for their crops to grow. Hence all the talk about rain. The farmers plant their crops, the ‘former’ rain came, they reaped a bountiful harvest, but they then prepare the ground for another time of sowing – and reaping! They don’t ask if the ‘latter’ rain wouldn’t come. They have full assurance that the rain will come. Likewise, have the assurance that God will come true for you. His latter rain will come. But you need to make preparations for it too. Add God into the equation.

Fast, Forward, Fasting.

Fast Forward

‘Fast’ is defined as moving or able to move, operate, function, or take effect quickly (Dictionary.com). The act of being fast suggest movement; to move forward or advance to a certain something or destination. But I wonder how did it draw on a religious connotation?

Why is the abstinence from food for religious purposes called fasting?

A quick check on the etymology (origin) of the word found that the word ‘fast’ came from an Old English (Anglo-Saxon) term ‘fæstan’, which means to ‘hold firmly’. In laymen translation, ‘to observe’ can also be translated to ‘to fast’. Putting that aside, why do religions used the word ‘fasting’ to describe and mark the important occasion of consecration? Why can’t we use abstinence instead and save the hassle? Why ‘fast’?

In my own opinion, the act of fasting seems to bring out the essence of moving forward. There is a Chinese saying that goes “We rest so that we can go a longer distance.” Sounds kind of oxymoron; how do you make progress when you stop progress? But when we look at human biology, then it makes sense that we really do need rest to move forward.

Then it could and would make sense that as it (the notion of rest to go the distance) has been hardwired in our DNA and our biology that, the act of fasting – to abstain from food to reach for a divine experience or enlightenment – could really bring us forward. As we fast, we hold firmly to our beliefs, and in doing so, we move forward. Maybe that’s why the word ‘fasting’ was used to describe this important sacrament to consecrate one’s body. Fast as its name suggest highlights a movement forward. And to fast denotes a believer making a decision to abstain, to move forward.

Hence, it is vital that believers engage in the important activity of fasting, an act that in every essence highlights carnal abandonment, consecration of one’s body to a divine being, and the strengthening of faith [for a need or desire for something to come to pass].

Just like love, a father can sacrifice and give his best to show love; he doesn’t take. It is recorded in the Bible that battles of all kinds are won by bent knees and prayer (Hannah, Esther, Daniel, David, Elijah, Jesus), fasting (Daniel, Cornelius, Esther, David, Jesus) and the sound of trumpets-a vocal act of praise (Joshua, Jehoshaphat, David, Paul). The taking of victory is won by actions (Bent knees? Praying? Fasting? Praising?) that is absurd by human understanding. Why not fight fight fight? But that’s how it works in the Kingdom. Because there is a standard of procedure in the Kingdom and therefore, as believers and citizens we operate not by earth’s SOP but by heaven’s. God’s ways are higher than our ways, therefore we fight with weapons that are different but spiritual, different but powerful and mighty in pulling down strongholds.

Fast to move forward. And as we fast, we fast forward into the future and destiny God has set aside for us.

 

References:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fast

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fast?s=t

http://www.shadesofgrace.org/2012/01/12/fasting-day-6-following-the-footsteps-of-our-heroes/

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=20256

Conversations With Uncle Chandra (Part 2)

Paris BaguettePHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay (Ipad2)

 

I met uncle Chandra again the following night as he was once again on night shift. He beckoned me to receive a gift; Bacon and egg croissant from Paris Baguette. It was a gift from a Korean girl to him just 15 minutes from the time I met uncle Chandra. I kindly refused, but he insisted and said he can’t eat it anyway since he is on vegetarian today.

I told him about the Facebook post, and how so many are blessed by his words. Continuing from where he left off yesterday, he said that God comes in many forms (people). Uncle Chandra would never leave home for work without first making and drinking a warm cup of premium coffee. But when there are days that he had to give that a miss, there will be residents who come to him with a can of coffee from convenience stores. He said, buying the $1.50 coffee is one thing, thinking about him when they were buying the coffee and carrying it here makes all the difference. Even days that he did not have dinner before work, there will be residents who would buy Punggol nasi lemak for him. He said, “How would they know I haven’t eaten?” There was even one occasion when he gave away food given to him from a resident to other colleagues, and gotten other stuff(coffee) from another resident.

I like that.

I saw how he was blessed, how he blessed others, giving away what others gave to him and getting more blessed in return. I saw how he knew almost all the residents who came back home by the side gate after a long day. Truly all things will work together for the good of those who love God (and people), even if the faiths may be a tad different.

Before I left, uncle Chandra said he was saving the food for someone special. Thank you uncle Chandra. Though I am not hungry, I will eat it heartily, knowing that my stomach and heart will be filled tonight.

Take A Bite At This Singaporean Hotpot

Earlier in the morning, my folks and I were having breakfast at Changi Village. Dad ordered Nasi Campur while mom got herself Lotong. I went for Mee Rebus. It dawned upon me how natural it was for us to order food of different ethnicity.

Since young, many of us were exposed, slowly introduced and got accustomed to all sorts of cuisines such as the Indian’s Roti Prata, Nasi Biryani and Fish Head Curry, Malay’s Mee Siam, Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak, and Chinese’s Hokkien Mee, Chai Tao Kway and Chicken Rice, though many dispute that they are more Singaporean than they are of their original heritage. Ordering Roti Prata or Mee Siam (both my favorites) is like second nature for me (and I trust that it is as well for many who share my sentiments).

How wonderful it is that the cultures of different races can integrate, blend in so well and complement the other in this cultural hotspot known as Singapore!

We need to preserve this ‘Uniquely Singaporean’ culture as with the delicate balance of race, language and religion. It would be quite sad if the children of the next generation only knows hamburgers, steaks and McDonald’s.