Hammer and Fire, p.2

This is an update to the earlier Hammer and Fire post.  I got to thinking, are we really too soft?  My answer is yes.  But, the example I posted of GOD’s warriors was not the best, so I apologize for that.  I don’t believe GOD ever needs us to attack other people in any way.  But we are to love on another the best we can.  As a father, I have been called to get tough when disobedience and disrespect (mostly) manifest, but I do this out of necessity not pleasure.  Unfortunately, this is the world we live in.  I try to be tough but not mean, and hope I don’t come across as mean or scary.  And as a good citizen, I get angry when I see injustices, and that’s alright it seems.  My wife and I are at the stage in our lives where we are trying to see how we can best live out our faith-lives.  By this I mean that we’re close to being done with ‘being cool’ and ‘being mr/mrs. nice guy’.

The Hammer and the Fire is the LORD.  Not me.

5;35am, p.2

(more…)

Get Real, p.1

Being a Christian, I’ve heard many people tell me to not do this and not do that.  Not to complain, not to be sad, not to be angry, don’t speak ill of others.  What happens when we do?  We just feel guilty about it.  We wonder why we do it because if we are Christian shouldn’t we be perfect?  And then depression sets in.  It’s akin to yo-yo dieting or being hooked on something whether it’s cigarettes or something stronger.

I’ve also heard many wonderful sounding parables, words of wisdom, and stories that inspire and encourage us to take the high road.  But is that for real?  Or are we just faking?  Maybe we’re just playing ignorant.

After being with my wonderful wife now for 3 years, I’m seeing that all of the above that some Christians say is negative behavior that GOD does not bless is actually just being human.  No one likes to hear it, because it is hard on the ears and hard on the heart.  It weighs on others and no one likes that, again.  I’m quite sure even GOD doesn’t like to hear it, so He warns us if we get out of hand.  But, it’s not a sin.  It’s just being human.

I’m not saying, some of us, myself included don’t have real character problems because I do.  But, GOD helps us and as we mess up with one and other we pay the price.  Yes, justice is always served.  It may take a while, but GOD is not mocked.

So what’s my point?  People can’t change.  People can’t change people.  GOD changes people, it’s called growing up.  As he grows plants, infants to physically mature people, He also grows us as time goes by.  Some people grow fast, some slow.  But undeniably we all grow.  My other point is if meet someone who does not have a ‘great personality’ or is not popular or successful, our first reaction is to shun that person.  But, I’m seeing that often that person is not just annoying and needs us to change them.  These people usually have genuine needs that are not being met or have some real complaint of injustice done against them.  They are not happy, but FOR A REASON.  Our life training tells us to just tell them:

‘Shut up!’

or ‘Learn to count your blessings!’

or ‘You’re such a whiner, buck up!’

‘Life isn’t fair, get used to it!’

I used to react in this way, and still do sometimes.  But, now knowing this about ‘those’ people, maybe the proper reaction is to try to help them, maybe just stop to listen and act like you care, or really do something for them.  By not facing problems, addressing issues, pretending everything is fine aren’t we just faking?  Not only are we faking, it isn’t responsible or smart.  That’s my 3 cents worth.

Family Business Woes

There are good points and bad points in working with family.  The most obvious good points is that the work environment is often more casual and lax.  Things may get done just as quickly and effectively, but in a looser way because the trust and empowerment is there.  Another good one, is often the pay is better, and the benefits better, because you are the son or daughter.

But today I am reminded of some reasons why working with family can be a pain.  First of all, the boss (Dad and/or Mom) often unload on the ’employees’  (the sons and/or daugthers).  I’ve never worked for a boss that did that.  It always stayed civil and professional.  It’s not a good feeling, and basically can ruin your day.  But, contrary to the above good point, sometimes working for family doesn’t pay.  Sometimes, the parents or uncles, whoever, will not pay the children/kids.  They think why did I have kids for anyways if not to save me money?  They also think anyways, the kids will get my money when I die.  But if I’ve learned anything in life, nothing is for certain.  All we have is what is in our hand.  Promises (even investments) are often unfulfilled and empty.  Things change.  Nothing is for certain.  (That’s why we can only trust GOD)

The parents have a point.  They did raise the kids and so the kids can NEVER pay them back.  But, at the same time, it doesn’t feel good to not be paid even as good as a hired person.  It can have bad effects on self-esteem or self-concept.  But, oh well.

Do Not Fear, the Soursop

To food lovers, and specifically fruit lovers, we have soursop on Guam!  If you don’t see them ocassionally at the local supermarket, they can be found at fruit stands or @ the Dededo flea market on Saturdays and Sundays, early.

They look stinky and unedible.  But, they’re not.  You’re just thinking of durian or jackfruit.  A lot of people enjoy those too.  These have a similar appearance but the taste is good to me.  It has a little ‘protective’ odor.  But after taking a whiff, it is un-noticeable.  It actually has a very nice ‘citrus’ taste (vitamin C) taste.  Not sour by any means, it is nicely sweet (not overly), but the texture may turn some off.  It is very fibrous and juicy, and the fruit is organized like pineapple, but again is very chewy and fibrous.  There are also big seeds tucked in the fruit.  Another hurdle, is the outer skin of this fruit gets black and not nice looking when ripe.  But when you open it up, it is very tasty indeed.

Soursop is very rare and when you eat it you can feel special.  Mostly because other (many) people do not dare eat it.  My father said this fruit used to be served to emperors in China, brought in from far, far away.

The New Art of War, by Sun of TZU (GOD)

When you see the dark, demonic, hissing, putrid, wretch of a person, what do you do?  Or the pale, snake-eyed, stinking, roaring ogre?

Chop it’s head off!  Right?  To chop is right (not really), but to hug ‘it’ is divine.  And who doesn’t want to be divine? (Stop reading, if being right is enough for you)

Although the title is a play on Art of War by Sun Tzu, the theme of this post is ‘Love Your Enemy’.  By the way, ‘tzu’ really does mean GOD in Chinese.  Over and over we see in the book of Proverbs that violence is wrong.  But, Jim, we see GOD directing Israel to fight for their land, killing their enemies?  What’s up with that?  Is GOD contradicting Himself here?  Who am I to question the Almighty GOD, El Shaddai?  But, I guess if I had to gander an answer it would be that GOD was working with his imperfect people living in their imperfect world with their imperfect ways.

In the Psalms, and all through the good book, we see depictions of GOD as a warrior, smiting and destroying evil.  That concept of fighting and eventually war is expected from our forefathers and ancestors.  After all, that was the world they lived in.  In the more peaceable world of today (2010), may we ask ‘what is the point of fighting and winning?’  Is the war really good versus evil?  Right versus wrong?

If we get real for a minute, we know that war and conflicts are always always for stuff – real or perceived (imaginary?).  After powering through the Art of War, it saddened me that the operations of conquest and killing could be translated into ‘Art’.  I’m Chinese, I read it, and if I were to translate it – Military Methods or Plan by Sun Tzu.  Might this be another case of war propaganda?  Hm?

Well back to the point, Jesus’ ‘art of war’ was to give.  To give up whatever the other person wanted.  It’s a crazy, crazy philosophy that of Jesus Christ.  That included being insulted and derided.  The Way to win is to lose.  Opposite and totally revolutionary.  But why?

Confessions, p. 2

Fast forward to just the last year.  I’m a recovering rage-aholic.  I’m not proud of that.  Maybe no one will see this, maybe someone will.  I don’t know why, maybe I’m just violent now, or maybe my car accident has something to do with it, but I don’t really like it.  I’m taking meds.  At the root of it is my sin.  I’ve found a verse in Proverbs that say don’t associate with the violent man or you may learn his ways and become ensnared.  I agree with the LORD that it’s wrong.  I like people and often wondered why they don’t like me?  Maybe they all see this in me, so I don’t want it anymore.  I’ve asked the LORD for help with this, and am patiently waiting for the change.  I’m actually getting better, from my own observation, but still not happy about this.

You know, the human mind and perception are so flawed sometimes.  Often I get angry, hurt, or insulted and later on I find out it was all just misunderstanding.  Pride is often the culprit, and I really don’t like it.  Maybe the way out is to give up on ‘justice’ and turn the other cheek.

Just a shout out to my wife and kid, who have to put up with the ogre who appears from time to time.  I’m sorry, and I’ll make it up to you, as usual.

Love is…

I’m up to 5 now.  Love is:

Patient (I can wait a million years for you)

Kind (Do no harm, help if possible)

Does not envy (Be happy with what I have, not seek what others should have)

Does not boast (Don’t flaunt what you have)

Is not proud (I’m no better than anyone else, plus I should willingly suffer insults)

LORD help me not to be proud.  Please see 1 Corinthians 13 fr. Holy Bible

My Zoology

Unlike my theology which states there is a GOD, I don’t believe in zoos. Admittedly, part of me enjoys taking my son there, especially to free ones like the Chicago Zoo. So in that respect I am weak. Because, deep down I believe animals have been mistreated and yes, disenfranchised. Animals have rights too, that we have collectively decided that they don’t. As living beings, they have a right to do the things they have to – to survive. And as managers of the earth, according to the biblical account, we SHOULD look out for our ‘brethen’ (some cultures believe this), the animals. That includes making sure they have what they need to live and flourish.

Instead, we treat animals as entertainment. Basically, we put them on display. We take them out of their natural environments and say we are helping them because otherwise they wouldn’t survive. But we ourselves are the one’s responsible for making their environments unhabitable. We domesticate animals for our own pleasure and use, but in the process confuse, breed out the natural instinct, ‘enslave’, cut off, and give away their babies. This sounds harsh, but really it is just my thinking. And that’s what we are doing.

And lastly, we eat animals. Again, I admit, once in a while, I like to have a steak. But, for a few months I’ve been mostly vegetarian and I FEEL GREAT! Not only are vegetables and fruits the best food for us, if no one ate meat, we wouldn’t have to shed so much blood.

I’m talking to crazy, I guess, but we vote with our feet, so to speak. I mostly try to live a vegetarian lifestyle, but at the same time hope not to be rollin’ holy. I recognize that this is a depraved, fallen world. Me and everything in it is flawed and imperfect, and never will be in this age. That is until the Christ returns to make things anew. I’ve come across many writings by religious sects mostly that promote the pursuit of purity and it seems perfection. At this point, my thinking is I’ll work with GOD on those things, but extreme pursuit of holiness has always backfire on me leading to pride and not a ‘setting apart’ of myself, but self-exaltation and alienation from my family, friends, and fellow man. I hope I don’t come across as a purist, but that’s what I think about animals and people. We got a lot of esplaining to do regarding our treatment of the Animal Kingdom. We’d best start to undo some of the damage now, and make things right. Just my thoughts.

GOD Lives, p.1

I’m quite vocal about my faith. But is that always a good thing? Sometimes it can be annoying, I’m starting to notice. But, is it just me or have all parents seen this? Early on, my faith grew little by little, maybe I didn’t have eyes to see. But, the most dramatic leaps in my faith of the living GOD were when my son was born. I have witnessed two miracles as all young parents have but maybe never stopped to think upon? Or have I been so arrogant to think so.

The first miracle was the birth of my son. That really made me think. My wife and I made love-had sex. ‘By chance’ my sperm met her egg, and away we went. But, the funniest thing happened. Her belly kept growing and growing. How? What created and was growing the baby within her? The answer for me was GOD. WOW. How was this happening? Mind boggling.

Then Josh was born on Dec. 10. When he popped out of my wife, he was this little guy. So small, with a beating heart and his chest moved up and down as he breathed. He moved his arms and legs so slowly, and peaceful opened his little eyes and looked around at the ‘real’ world for the first time. It was extremely moving. I didn’t remember thinking anything at that moment except that I was in awe and wonder. All of a sudden, I had a little baby son. A gift, from GOD.

The second miracle I witnessed was when Josh was around one year old. We were eagerly anticipating his walking. Anticipating was more like anxiously even worrying that he would walk, that he would be slow. We tried showing him and telling him how to walk, but in the end we figured that all we could do is get him some baby walkers and the rest would be up to him. What we saw was he figured it out himself. We didn’t teach him anything. Or did he? I know that GOD taught him how to walk.

What does this mean for my faith and living out my faith? I’m not sure, but I’m starting to see that everything is really in GOD’s hands and we have very little control over anything. And the things we try to shape and control, often turn out subpar compared to how GOD could do it if we ‘let’ him. I’m walking the line between being perceived as ‘passive’ and allow GOD to be the King, and learning to follow His lead. There are interesting chapters in the end part of Matthew, the Gospel that describe a household as servants. The man, or head of the household is merely described as one of the servants with his fellow servants. Don’t understand it, but chewing on that right now.

Russell Peters, Comedian, “Be a Man”

Russell Peters does a good bit on Chinese and Indians trying to do business. Ha-ha, very good stuff. This is a ‘classic’, hope you enjoy if you haven’t seen it already. In my opinion, RP is the most talented ‘clean’ comedian around.

The Crazy Turns of Like, er Life, p.1

Just like to say, that where ever you are in life, however it’s seemed to turn out, it’s not over til it’s over. Life is bittersweet. Hopefully more sweet than bitter. Eat, drink, and be merry. Not exactly, but enjoy your work, love the best you can, everything usually works out in the end. Trust GOD.

Being a Goldy Man, uh, Godly Man

What’s wrong with gold? When Jesus our LORD could not convince the rich young ruler to sell his possessions and give to the poor, He unknowingly sent the message that it is better to be poor than rich. For He said, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to Heaven. Is that really what happened? I don’t really know, but I have some thoughts on that story.

Ah, I’ll cut to the chase, so to speak. The rich young ruler did not recognize Jesus as GOD, or a need to have relationship with Him. If you have time, read the story in Luke 18. It’s actually a very deep story. And again in Matthew 19.

Manliness is next to Godliness

There currently are ‘movements’ (think hard on that one) that seek to ‘dewimpify’ the Christian guy. But in their efforts to uplift the macho, burly, blue-collar Jesus, they slap the normal, artistic, gentle, maybe homeosexual guy around like. Curiously, those who preach the MMA or Macho Christ, are usually themselves macho types. Is that exeJesus or isoJesus? I think it is iamJesus.

I have nothing against men being men, and women being women. I’m for it, personally. But defintions of ‘biblical’ masculinity that involves the following don’t jive with me:

1) putting down others
2) promoting violence
3) trash talking (by this I mean talk that doesn’t help)
4) thinking your way is the way (mywayhighway)
5) dominating others
6) objectifying women
7) overstepping one’s bounds
8) never admitting one’s mistakes
9) rudeness
10) being inconsiderate
11) being unappreciative
12) not giving credit where credit is due
13) taking other’s things – seizing
14) empty promises
15) unfaithfulness
16) not being under authority (loose canons)

That’s not the entire list, but it’s a start.

Strength, Some Thoughts, p.2

I left off at possibly suggesting we all return to the caveman days.  Just joking.  By using force, I mean we can restrain people who would use force themselves to harm others.  We can agree on that, right?

Regarding inner strength, I’d just like to offer an answer about where it comes from. So this post will be short. STRENGTH comes from the LORD GOD. I’ve found my greatest strength when I was acting out of pure, unselfish love. This is the LOVE of the Father-GOD (or Mother-GOD), and so when you are that, you are a channel of His LOVE (which He blesses) and you have His strength (backing you up). Does that make sense? Other times, I’ve had greater strength when I was acting RIGHTLY, for GOD is justice. When you do the right thing, GOD will send His strength your way. So how do you know what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? Actually, a start would be to study the Commandments of the LORD in the Holy Bible (see Exodus and Leviticus). Gandhi suggested that strength lies in the ‘indomitable will’. Maybe it’s indomitable Will, the Will of the LORD. If you are carrying out the orders of GOD, if you are doing something for Him, you will have all the power of Heaven (that you need) with you.

The J.O. Post, p.1

J.O. stands for Joel Osteen, who has something that is needed by people all across the world – messages of encouragement and hope.

– – – – – – – – – – –

You are a special person.

Even if no one understands you, GOD does. He loves you just the way you are.

Don’t let people get to you. Most everyone is selfish and weak. They want. They drag you down, and put their crap on you. Don’t become embittered by the world. Stay strong with love, the love of the Father.

Be yourself. GOD created you that way. Love your self. He does. Don’t let people change you…too much.

Even if you do nothing, GOD still loves you. He is that good. Sometimes it’s ok to be ‘lazy’.

GOD is a loving Father, gracious and full of compassion. That is His Name. And He desires to know you, and that you walk with Him daily in a genuine relationship.

GOD loves you and wants you to have a good life. Your life is a masterpiece to be worked out between you and Him. If you want success, He can hand it to you on a priceless platter. Whatever you want, if you are in His Love, He will give.

Prayer, Some thoughts, p. 1

Let’s first do a study of prayer with biblegateway.com .  The first instance of ‘pray’ is in Genesis 20:7.  Abraham was to pray for someone who has his wife so that GOD would not kill them.  So, we see that prayer is not only communication or communication in the spirit with GOD, prayer is an act.

Prayer can be outloud or silent, but mostly it involves asking.  Not just for stuff, sometimes it’s for wisdom.  Sometimes we want to know things.  Other times we just want to vent.   We cry to our LORD.  He always hears us.  But sometimes He doesn’t ‘hear’ us or answer us.  Why?  Usually, it’s because we’re sinning, and will not turn and obey.

As someone who has hit rock bottom and bounced back (I have the scars to prove it), I know what it is like to have heaven shut to you.  I have felt as said in Deuteronomy, the sky above like bronze and the ground beneath me like iron.  Like Jonah, I ran from GOD, and thanks to Him, He got me back on track.

The human heart is wicked and is set on it’s own ways.  Children must learn obedience over time.  And perhaps go beyond obedience, duty, and to love?

Brothers and sister, most of us love GOD, with all our hearts.  So what’s the problem?  Jesus taught us to pray the LORD’s prayer.  It’s a simple prayer.  Many leaders of the church tell us it is a pattern for prayer.  I tried approaching prayer that way, it didn’t work.  The problem was work.  What got me in touch with GOD was the realization that GOD is a real person.  So I started spending time with Him.  I stopped talking.  I tried opening my ‘ears’ to hear what He had to say.  A good book is Hearing GOD by Dallas Willard.  But even if you don’t read it, just listen and open your heart.  Like it says in the Book, you must not doubt.  Often we hear from the LORD, but ‘forget’ basically dismiss the thought or impression you received.  Over time, if we are sincere we will develop greater sensitivity to the Spirit’s prompting and guidance.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Father, in Heaven, Holy is your name,

Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,

Give us our daily bread and forgive us our sins,

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one

Amen

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

A few notes on the LORD’s prayer:  It is amazing, we call the LORD of the Universe, our Father.  His Kingdom is not here (not setup – where are His kings?), and His will is not being done on earth.  Asking for food and forgiveness is good.  Maybe we always need to ask for provision?  After all, forgiveness only comes by repenting and asking.  It seems it is possible not to be lead into encounters with evil, and GOD may or may not deliver.  Perhaps this is not a pattern for prayer, but a first prayer.  And maybe this is the basic ‘pattern’ of life.  Life is ruling under the Father, doing His will, receiving all you need from Him, including forgiveness, testing, and protection-deliverance.


My Neighbor’s Breadfruit Tree

In the neighbor’s yard, there is a HUGE breadfruit tree; growing up to the sky.  Right now, in the scorching heat, it is still bearing fruit like a champ.  All the trees in my parents’ garden are not, it’s too dry and hot.  At my other property, same story.  Along the road, when I look, yup, same story.  This tree is special.  It’s a king of trees.  Yet, no one appreciates it.

First of all, what’s a breadfruit?  It’s roundish, green, has a hide with ‘cells’ on it.  I’m told it eats like taro, but has a distinct taste, and needs to be cooked out a while.  But when I see this amazing tree with all the fruit on it, that could feed a village – it just seems an injustice is happening.

Recently, I blogged on diet.  In the olden times, Chamorros, the native people of Guam ate these fruits as a staple.  Now, we all eat rice on Guam.  All I’m saying is, if that was my tree, I’d eat one breadfruit a meal (3 a day).  I wouldn’t have to buy.  It’s right there, provided for me.  Maybe I’m getting old, so my sensibilities are changing, but that’s my outlook.

Blag, blagh, balh, lbah, blay

belw, beil, blue, biels, buye, bleh, pleft, hrip, left, raw, jaf, jab, teb, tew, liw, le, jo, jee,ja

Strength, Some Thoughts p.1

I’m a big dude, over 230 pounds.  On a sub-six foot frame, that may be pushing ‘large’.  I’ve easily hit 280 by just cutting loose, so it’s not like I’m going to need steroids anytime soon, or ever.

So, do I revel in my ability to crush small buildings with a single bound?  No, what you don’t know is more often than not I don’t like the reaction people have towards my appearance.  Most guys either perceive me as a threat and so are hostile to me OR I get derision from people for their own inability to deal with who I may or may not be.

Regardless, if I may, I’d like to take a crack at – Strength, what is it all about?

Being a philosopher, I believe.  Strength comes from GOD.  Just as Samson’s strength was stripped from him, I believe that at anytime for reasons that sometimes may be beyond our grasp, our strength may disappear.  Or appear.  Gandhi spoke about true strength coming from the will, or from within.  That is true.  What I mean is physical strength is needed, but inner strength, as I now approach my forties, is where it’s at, my friend.  So yes, I agree with Gandhi.

Here at the tail of the machine age, there’s no need for the Hercules anymore.  Punch someone out, you’ll probably go to jail.  Brute strength under control, making the move from macho to meek is where it’s at.  Honestly, I very, very rarely get to use my muscles anymore.  A few years ago, I really enjoyed going to the gym pump pump you up.  But these days, it’s okay, but conceptually it doesn’t make good economic sense.  Lifting, exerting, and such without going anywhere or visibly creating anything (nice body excluded) doesn’t jive with my new-found (older) sensibilities.

But don’t get me wrong.  I still practice my ‘kung fu’.  Not literally, but I know.  I know that sometimes, increasingly more rarely, that you gotta use force.  As I move through time and through this world, I’m meeting more and more rascals.  No one is there for me anymore.  I stand alone.  It’s strange, sometimes I perceive that our civilized world with all it’s accomplishments and advancements can be stripped away to reveal the fist.  Sometimes that’s the only language that can be spoken.  And so, as men and women who would be well advised to preserve the self, we must speak this language, although reluctantly.

Movie Review – Asian American Film – Shanghai Kiss

(This movie is NOT for the kids.  Language and sexual situations.)

Being Asian-American, I like to see AAs in film and television, it just does my heart good.  I found this title on Google and downloaded it from iTunes, watched it today.  My thoughts and feelings?

I LIKE IT.

The dude, Ken Leung (of X-men fame, spikey head) is a really good actor.  Asian American guys (some) might be pleased to see our hero not only dated but wooed by a cute, albeit underaged, Caucasian young lady.

I don’t know why it is important to the AA psyche to be desirable to other races, but here we can get our fix.  Personally, I made my choice to marry my wife who is of the same ethnicity as myself.  It has been really great for me, but to each his/her own.  Whatever floats your boat.

Ken’s character Liam inherits a house in Shanghai.  He goes there to sell it, only to ‘fall in love’ with the city (and a girl) of course.  His sense of belonging in China I’m guessing would resonate with many AAs, but a following scene with a local Chinese guy is probably equally resonating.  Later, the local Chinese guy calls Liam American, and tells him to basically ‘go home’.  AAs are too Chinese for America, and too American for Chinese.  Stuck.  Haha, it’s comedy.

Shanghai Kiss?  Is that now a euphemism like Yellow Fever?  You just got Shanghai kissed!

What I Really Like About Episcopalians

They get some flack, but I like it.  As a body, we aren’t recognizing that being gay is normal, part of the human condition.  Why do many churches exclude?  The episcopalians embrace gay people and I believe that is what Jesus would have done.  It took some time, but I now believe, and this is just me, that having gay people in church leadership is ok.  Why?  Because, as a wise man once said to me, we’re not here on the earth to be perfect, we’re here to help people.  Who can help gay people in their Christian walk better than an elder who is gay.  Ok, let the crap fly, I’m ready for it.