The One Road to Home

A  reflection, a contemplation. Writ 27th March 2016.

Home; I was not there.
Nights had gone silent,
days had been dark, and
the world was ignorant
for souls who did not fit.

Home; I was not welcomed.
The entrance had been shut,
the gatekeepers were proud, and
the servants served themselves
as if the Master had not lived there.

Home; I stumbled and crashed.
“Why do we keep falling on
this road we walk?”
My friends had abandoned me;
I was offered to despondency.

Home; He opens my eyes.
The Living Word finds me
and brings the dead back to life.
Filled with His Spirit,
I return to the race.

Home; I begin my pilgrimage.
The Light that was surrounded
by the consuming void of gloom
shines its warmth, at first faint,
and gives me hope again.

Home; here is never mine.
How foolish and vain to
search our end on this plane,
for everything is only a shadow
of the things yet to come.

Home; I will arrive there.
He who has saved me
will not let go, not even once.
Of His steadfastness I will sing,
in His presence I shall be;
with my adelphoi, my Friends,
around the table of the King.

An Offering of A Whole Heart

A poem; a prayer; a reflection. The third Moonlight rhyme. Writ 20/10/2015.

For you, who have since

driven me to His presence,

that He may purify my desires

and guard my heart from sins;

see how I have gone through hard,

and listen to the words of my heart.

Why are you still there in my mind

was an inquiry I had had since then.

Before the Lord had I knelt on my knees;

mustering up courage, I asked Him of ’tis,

“Is she the one whom for me You choose

or, like all creations, from me also to pass?”

It had been preceded by a statement

that stemmed from my rash frustration,

“If only You exclude me this weight to bear

that I do not have to suffer!”

Then, my predecessors gave me wisdom,

for from our Lord they had received them:

For it is written, for one to be a living sacrifice,

he ought to learn to put in Christ his trust,

surrendering and offering all things,

including those one holds dear most,

and those seemingly to be of all silliest,

that he may be privileged to suffer in big things;

for the eventual reward is His true riches.

For what could we offer to the Lord

if we had nothing in our hold?

The truth woke me up to my senses.

Although inexplicably painful it is,

to grapple with God with all my best

and offer Him back all the matters

with which He had me blessed

is the only way to receive the answers.

For this is the meaning of bearing the cross:

to deny myself from every worldly desire

and turn away from what the worlds offer;

to die every day, that Christ may live in me,

and in every little step I have faith in Thee,

to finally gain the All-Satisfying Trinity

and receive His joy and glory.

Come directly not the answer,

for the Lord works in mysterious ways;

to discern one must patiently gaze in wonder,

and walk closely to His Word and statures.

As I walk with Thee and seek Your answer,

give me Thy joy, that I may persevere

through this path and glorify Lord the Highest,

for no good thing God ever withholds

from those who walk uprightly.

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: 

thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever:

forsake not the works of thine own hands.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭138:8‬

“Does God Want Everything?” – A Short Reflection

The book I am currently reading is “Passion and Purity” by Elisabeth Elliot. It tells about the importance of offering our passion and affection to the one we are in love with to God that He may purify it.

I found a very interesting part near the end of chapter five of the book, the title of which I also use for this post. It goes like this,

… But the question to precede all others, which finally determines the course of our lives, is What do I really want? Was it to love what God commands, in the words of the collect, and to desire what He promises? Did I want what I wanted, or did I want what He wanted, no matter what it might cost?

Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept, His Lordship. The Cross, as it enters the love life, will reveal the heart’s truth. My heart, I knew, would be forever a lonely hunter unless settled ‘where true joys are to be found.’

He wants everything from us, including the best from us, that He may use us for His own purpose too.

The question remains, “Do I want what I want, or do I want what He wants, no matter what it might cost?”

An Epiphany to Pray

Writ 21/9/2015. A realisation, in time of soberness and helplessness. A prayer. A poem.


God, when I contemplate

of the things and voices from my heart

and bring all of them, kneeling before Thee;

too many and numerous they are

that my heart can never bear.

Who am I, Lord, in Your mind,

that You put in me compassion and love

for the things You care about?

Father, I am only a little child

whose heart not lifted up,

whose eyes are not raised too highh.

With my predecessors from old, I

plea for my requests and sanctification

to come before You, God Most High.

For we do not occupy ourselves

with things too great and marvellous.

Now, I have calmed and quieted

my restless and wandering soul within.

In front of Your righteous throne, I am

like a weaned child with his mother;

like a weaned child is my soul in me.

Let Thy will be done above

everything else in all creation.

Soli Deo Gloria, amen.

” O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”

Psalm 131:3

Being Hedonistic about God – Desiring God Review

The terms “Desiring God” and “Christian Hedonism” introduced in this book have intrigued me since a long time ago and put a lot of questions in my mind. What does it mean to desire God? Can we even desire the God who is holy and righteous, while we ourselves are prone to sins? How can there even be a kind of hedonism that is by nature Christian, when the object itself – “hedonism” by its most general definition, is a term for the pursuit of joy to fulfill one’s desire by any means possible – is contradictory to the explaining adjective (“Christian”)?

These questions are – obviously – answered in the book. However, before I delve deeper into the content, I would like to give my opinion on this book in general. For me, Desiring God is more than a mere signature book – a book that can be easily identified to the author – by John Piper. It is not due to it being the first book he published that gained recognition, nor to the density and richness of its content, and it does not owe to the so-called controversial term of Christian Hedonism in its subtitle. The reason is because it is so saturated and filled by the Word of God that every page is full with God-glorifying sentences and thoughts.

To make it clear, Desiring God is not the Bible, and it can never be. It does not have the authority and infallibility as the Holy Scriptures. It does, nonetheless, point to the Bible and, most importantly, to God. I have read a few books that really do that. You can feel that the words are so infused by the idea of Christian Hedonism, which turns out to be so rooted in the Bible and God.

I would prefer to leave the details of the reasons why John Piper named this philosophy of life “Christian Hedonism”, which he explained himself in the appendix. But, to give a glimpse to what he thought about it, here is the reason, in my own words. As mentioned earlier, hedonism is defined as “a pursuit of joy to fulfill one’s desire by any means possible”. From this statement, we can derive a fundamental question: What is it that humankind desires? Or, to put it better, What can fulfill our desires? Here I quote C. S. Lewis’s words from his book Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” I do not know whether John Piper has read this sentence or not – as a fellow Lewis fan, I believe he has – but this is exactly what Desiring God captures. It emphasizes that God is the only one that can truly satisfy our desire. God Himself decrees in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Our lives, then, are to be lived in the pursuit to find our joy in God. This pursuit for joy, in its widest application, can be considered “hedonism” of some sort. But since it is the only and true hedonism that can be in the world, because the object and the motivation is God, it is the Christian way of living, hence the term “Christian Hedonism”.

Now, at this point, you may take it all wrong. “How can a Christian pastor teach his readers to be so worldly hedonistic? Even if it is true, we cannot treat God like He is a genie that we can call as we wish to fulfill our desires,” you might think. I also initially denied the term “Christian Hedonism” because of similar rationales. However, do not get John Piper wrong. There are two reasons why we cannot reject this term right away before we read the book (and hence get Pastor John’s full explanation). First, our beforehand knowledge about God might be wrong. I found myself corrected time over time by this book, because its content is derived from the Bible so much that I understand the Bible – and hence, though never completely, God – better. It encourages us to know God more through the Bible, and in fact it is so driven by the Word of God there is a chapter that focuses only on the Scriptures! Secondly, there are many things about God and ourselves that we take for granted. This book helps us to open our eyes to the things that we may consider as miscellaneous, such as prayer.

The book, consisting of ten main chapters, outlines the principle of its main idea, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever”, in fundamental areas of our lives. It first gives the background of how Christian Hedonism came into shape at the first place. Then, it explores the happiness of God – a surprisingly new topic for Christians who have not yet read and understood about it – as the foundation of Christian Hedonism. In the next chapter, it exposes the total depravity of humankind and how God, being full of grace and mercy, has given us salvation through Jesus Christ that our desire may now be directed to the true Object and Person: the LORD Himself. Chapters 3 through 10 redefine the significant matters in our lives in light of Christian Hedonism: worship as our feast, where we praise God in spirit and truth; love as our labor that we receive from God joyfully and share to others to fulfill others’ needs; Scriptures (that special chapter on the Bible!) as the kindling of our joy in God; prayer as our source of power from God to always seek our joy in Him; money as our currency and tool that we use to glorify God (this is definitely not prosperity gospel, but you need to read to not misunderstand what the book really means by having money as the currency of Christian Hedonism); marriage as one of Christian Hedonism’s matrixes where Christ’s joy and His church’s joys are manifested through the relationship between husband and wife; missions (John Piper has frontier mission in mind when he wrote “missions”) as our battle cry to share the Gospel and Good News to the people around us; and suffering as our sacrifice to gain what we cannot lose.

After reading this summary of Desiring God’s content, you must have been intrigued more than I had. That is what I mean to do: to wake your interest up that you will want to read this book, and hopefully be blessed as much as – or even more than – I do. After I read it, my perspective on a lot of things are changed. A good example is on prayer. My view of prayer, now corrected by the corrective lenses of the Bible, changes how I pray. I realize that I am a sinner who has no right to be before Him. Yet, I come to His presence to ask for His mercy and grace to be poured upon the people and matters I pray for. And this is not self-centered, because God receives all the glory by being the all-satisfying Giver who seeks to be known and praised by all people. I am pursuing my joy by seeking that God does everything He wants to make His name be glorified!

John Piper describes, explains, recounts stories, and argues so interestingly that this book serves its main purpose: to share and to prove to people this idea from the Westminster Catechism, that “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever”. For my last remark, I do not think this is one of many ways that Christians can live. There is no other way for us but to see that God is glorified in our satisfaction in Him. I would prefer not to call “Christian Hedonism” by its own name, but simply “Christian”. This owes to the fact that this book describes truthfully our original design to be in fellowship with God and satisfied in Him only; our failure to do so; our punishment for rebelling against Him; His grand salvation on the cross through Jesus Christ; and His restoration at work through the Holy Spirit in His church, preparing His people to have fellowship again with Him in full.

Finally, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist serves as one of the pointers to God, that we may live obediently before His eyes, seeking our satisfaction and joy only in His fellowship and presence, and hear Him saying these words at the very end, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). Hallelujah, amen!

There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious

C. S. Lewis in The Last Battle

The New Chapter – Writ 11/11/2014

For the newfound friends. In the face of final exam and during my rite of passage.

A short poem.

A son of words departed;

to the unknown land he went.

Though only for a while he resided,

yet he found his newest chapter already written.

Affectionately he opened the story of his life and read:

“In this foreign place

the LORD adds to my age another year;

with more wisdom He bless.

And for the future burdens I must bear

My God has provided me

with wonderful friends like thee

to stride on the path I must walk,

that I may carry on.

Friend, a battlefield is being prepared.

I do not have anything to be offered

but my prayer to my Father that you may prevail;

that you may finish the race sound and well.”

The episode ended

with these words inscribed.

But the war is yet to start;

towards it the son and his newfound friends march.

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A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17