Overcoming Our Forces of Nature

Hi friends, I had quite a few revelations recently! Some I got while I was in church attending service, others while I was reading a Christian book, but there’s also those I got while I was reading my Bible. Talking about my Bible, here it is:

my_bible

For some of you who do not really understand what you’re looking at here, let me briefly explain. This book that you see can be many things, but one thing it definitely isn’t is that it’s just a book. No, it’s not just a book. If you have a relationship with Jesus and read this intently, you will realize what you are holding & studying contains power that can change your life. It can shift your mindset, touch your heart and even propel you to action.

Don’t believe it? Well, hopefully by the end of this post, you will have a little teaser of what the Word of God can reveal to us. Let’s begin. What I decided to do today is to compile some of my recent revelations which I thought were really amazing and share them with you here. The ones that I am going to talk about in this post are mainly from exactly a month back while I was reading my Bible.

It was just a Monday night and I was in my room, spending time with God. I held the Bible you see above, and said a little prayer before flipping to the book of John. I went straight there because I am currently on a “New Testament Challenge” I gave myself. I just wanted to continue from where I left off previously. How unprepared I was for the truths that were about to jump out at me! I began reading the first chapter of the night and it wasn’t long before a verse caught my attention.

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” – John 8:12

At this point of time, you must be wondering why the title of this post is Overcoming Our Forces of Nature. You could be reading this under a tree, by a river, or on top of a hill. But I’m not in any way referring to the “nature” around you. What I am referring to here is OUR human nature. You see, by default and by birth, it is in our nature to sin. Ever since Adam & Eve’s first disobedience to God, they and their descendants leading up to us today have all inherited characteristics & qualities contrary to God’s.

For example, when I was just a young boy, nobody – not my parents, my relatives, my friends (I probably didn’t have many back then anyways LOL) taught me to lie. But as soon as I got into trouble, it would be my instinct to push the blame to someone else or something else to cover up for what I’ve done! You can identify with these experiences, can’t you? Even if it’s not lying, you would have done something before that you know in your conscience is wrong, dirty, unholy . No matter how rich, smart or good-looking you are, this is a fact that you and I can’t change, that we are sinners.

This is why I don’t believe that a person can deny his/her need for God. Everyone needs God, no matter how successful they are. Because by our own brilliance, yes, there are many things we can achieve; but one thing we can never do by our own strength is overcome this power of Sin over our lives. Still, as mentioned, there is always a way out with God!

You know what the verse above means to me? As I read it, I just felt the Holy Spirit saying that we can all live a sin-free life. Maybe not totally sinless, but we can definitely sin less. How? By having a relationship with Jesus and following Him. When we do so, we will not walk in darkness because He does not carry darkness, or evil or death. Instead, He has the light of life. With this, I just felt that God had more in stored for me in the following verses, so I kept on reading. And boy, was I right. Next few verses that totally builds upon the previous one:

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:31-32

I don’t know about you, but I had a question from the previous verse about following Jesus. “How do I follow You, Jesus? And what is considered “following” You?” That’s what I asked God as I was reading, before He answered me with verses 31 & 32. It says that if we abide in Christ’s word, we are His disciples indeed. “Disciples” at its basic definition simply means “followers”. Are you beginning to see the link? To follow Jesus, it requires us to abide in Him and His word. Because it’s in the Word of God that we will find, know, understand and apply truth that will set us free. Free from what? The chains of sin.

At this point, I was already mind-blown with what the Holy Spirit had revealed to me. But He wasn’t done with me just yet. There was just one last scripture that God wanted me to receive that night, and it’s found in verses 34 to 36 in the same chapter.

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. – John 8:34-36

At first glance, I was honestly just puzzled with this scripture. However, after some pondering and digging, I finally uncovered the treasure hidden here. We do not need to be slaves any longer. Let me break it down for you and explain in detail why I felt this was what Jesus was trying to say. Perhaps, some “keys” that I came up with to interpret the verses above would prove useful to help you understand what I’m about to say.

Slave of sin (whoever commits sin) = You and I before following Jesus.
son” with a lowercase ‘s’ = You and I after following Jesus.
“the Son” with an uppercase ‘S’ = Jesus.

Alright, just leave that at the back of your head for now. Firstly, it is important to know that Jesus is not a slave. He walked this same Earth we walk every single day but you know what’s the difference between Him and us? He has never sinned before. That is why He has the power to set us free! And when He does so, verse 36 above says that we shall be free indeed.

Second thing to note is that Jesus also does not see us as slaves. Only the slaveholder Satan sees us as slaves. How do I know this? Because the Bible says that Jesus is a rewarder.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Now tell me, how often does a slaveholder reward his slaves? Exactly. That is why I am so sure Jesus is neither a slave or a slaveholder.

With the identity of Jesus clear, we can now begin to look at the verses in John 8 one by one and uncover the truths behind them. I’m going to go straight to verse 35 because I am sure most of you would understand verse 34 pretty easily. Simply put, we who sin are now slaves to sin.

But verse 35 is the tough one. It can be quite a mouthful when you read it. What exactly does it mean? It took me awhile, but here are a few things I got from this verse. First of all, slaves don’t have the privilege to live in a house. But a son lives in the house. THE Son does.

And this Son (Jesus) has the power to set the slaves (us) free because He does not belong to the slaveholder. As mentioned before, He is not a slave. But in order to set the slaves free, He had to pay a price not of money, but the price of His life so that he can BUY them back from the slaveholder (Satan).

And it is only when He has paid the price to buy them back that verse 36 can come to pass because now the slaves are truly free and can even go back home to be with the Son. “But isn’t He dead?” Well, before I end off this post, let me give you one final overall picture of the story that is painted here. You should get it after this.

In the beginning, mankind was living in the same “house” as God the Father. Adam and Eve literally lived in an environment where God’s presence permeated its atmosphere. And it was supposed to be this way for eternity.

Unfortunately, as you know it, Adam and Eve sold themselves and the entire human race into slavery, into sin. As a result, we could no longer abide in the same “house” as God any longer.

After a long period of time, mankind forgot their identity. We have forgotten that we are sons and daughters of God. But the Bible says that God loved us so much, He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to come and buy us back, so that we will know our true identity and abide with Him forever.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

And the Good News is, Jesus didn’t stay dead! After dying on the cross for our sins, He rose again on the third day and defeated Satan once more. That is why today, we can have a relationship with Him – He’s alive!

Today, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian or not. The truth is Jesus died for every single one of us so that we do not have to be slaves to the power of Sin and the acts of sins. Follow Him today, be it for the first time, for the tenth time, or for the hundredth time. You will begin to overcome the forces of your human nature and experience true freedom that will change your life forever.

And can you believe it? This is what God revealed to me in just ONE chapter of His Bible. Imagine the infinite possibilities of what He can speak to you and I through the other 1,188 chapters.

Of course, I have to say that this is MY revelation and interpretation of John 8. God can use the same words here to speak to you a totally different thing. I am not saying this is the only true meaning of this chapter, so by all means, please read it for yourself and listen personally to the Holy Spirit. More than just communicated knowledge, you will receive your own revelation knowledge.

Lastly, if you liked this post, do check out my write-ups of some of my Pastors’ sermons:

Christ3

ambidextrous

The reason why I am able to get revelations like this, is because my Pastors first taught us all how to approach and read the Word of God. So do check them out too! That’s all I have for you today and I’ll see you in the next post. Thank you for reading and sharing.

p.s. Pastor Tan Seow How & Pastor Cecilia Chan, more affectionately known as Pastor How & Pastor Lia are the senior pastors of Heart of God Church – my spiritual home and the theater of dreams.

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The Movies of Fall/Holiday 2015

Just to Share: I know it’s already a little into Fall season right now in terms of movies, but better late than never right? Haha so without further ado, here are some movies I am personally looking forward to for the remainder of the year!

1. The Martian

Remember me saying previously that I have a thing or two for science-fiction? Yup, that was enough to get me interested in this movie. And of course, it looks really good with an interesting fresh plot. Based on the novel of the same name, we will be brought on a journey to Mars where an astronaut gets stranded on, finding means to survive while his crew mates on Earth struggle to return and rescue him. Seems like the kind of movie that would be engaging from start to finish.

2. Pan

Childhood fantasies will be relived this October when a new origin story is birthed forth on the big screen for Peter Pan. I mean seriously, the last time I watched a Peter Pan film, I was only 7 years-old! And like I said, I would always love a good movie about adventure. But that’s not the only thing that I’m looking forward to in the movie. I’m also looking forward to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Blackbeard, which so far, looks oddly interesting.

3. Goosebumps

Just as we were on the topic of fantasy, here comes another one in the genre, mixed with comedy and fun. Goosebumps totally reminds me of those Scooby-Doo movies that I used to enjoy as a kid! But honestly, I just want to see what this movie has to offer in terms of story too. Also, it’s been some time since I watched a film featuring monsters on the loose (not referring to those scary ones). So if it’s good, why not?

4. Spectre

Let’s change frequencies a little. 2015 has been a year of spy flicks, with the likes of Kingsman, Mission Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. But one of the most renowned agents, 007 is returning to bring a conclusion to spy films for the year. Well, at least from what I know, there aren’t anymore big ones coming out! And for the most of it, the James Bond films starring Daniel Craig have received great reviews so far, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. That is, after I’ve finished watching the previous installments first.

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Talking about movie franchises that I need to catch up on, it reminds me of The Hunger Games. But having watched none of its previous installments, I’m already hyped up for Mockingjay Part 2 by this trailer haha. Still, there’s no way I am stepping into the cinema without first finding time to watch the first 3 films! Being one of those movies that first kicked off the trend of films based on young adult novels, I’m confident this last installment in the series would give fans an epic conclusion that will not disappoint.

6. The Good Dinosaur

Pixar. The animation studio that has brought us Inside Out, my favorite film of the year so far, is going to bring us into a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth alongside Man. With Inside Out being such a great success both critically and commercially, it makes me both excited and worried for The Good Dinosaur. With 2 movies released in a year, and having the first one being so successful, people are going to have high hopes for the second one. So much so that it may not meet up to their expectations. But for me, I’m going to have faith in Pixar that they’ll deliver once again. Just look at how beautiful the film looks from the trailer!

7. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

Probably the last big animation film of the year (that I know of); Blue Sky Studios are bringing the art style of the Peanuts comic strip into the larger canvas of a feature film. I’m always up for a good animation film and so far, the look and the animations of this movie looks really interesting. You can tell it’s not just your usual 3D animations, but with a blend of “hand-drawn style” animations as well. I’m seeing it as the kind of movie I would watch with some of my younger cousins & some popcorn during the holidays. How about you?

8. In the Heart of the Sea

Not the most edifying movie to watch I must say, with the kind of “disaster at sea” that it portrays. But I have a feeling it will be a great movie still in terms of plot, acting and visual effects. I’m especially looking forward to Chris Hemsworth’s performance outside of his role as a superhero in The Avengers. And did you know that this movie is directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush)? There’s great potential in this movie turning out to be phenomenal.

9. The Revenant

Academy Award® winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu is back in the director’s seat after his 2014 film Birdman won the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year. This time, it seems to be yet another Oscar-worthy film. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant feels like a really intense and immersive film. According to reports, the making of the film had gone way over-budget and over-schedule because of certain ways the director wanted it to be shot. It seemed bad but I’m also looking forward to seeing the results of his decisions & everyone’s hard work on set. Who knows? Maybe DiCaprio can finally win an Oscar through this.

10. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

You’ve probably guessed this last movie that I’m most looking forward to right now, haven’t you? Hahaha everyone is looking forward to it! The Force is strong, but the hype for this is even stronger. I watched Star Wars as a kid, and I must say that when I watched the trailer above, just hearing the opening music alone brought chills to my spine. The rest of the trailer did what it set out to do – making us want to watch it again & again until the movie comes out. Oh, and it reminded me to go watch all Episodes 1-6 one more time. Soon I’ll be ready! Going to the cinemas this Christmas will feel magical.

Well, it always seems that my lists of “anticipated things” always ends up being a list of 10. But that wraps up all the movies that I’m really hoping to watch this Fall/Holiday. Hopefully I can suck out all the creative juices that they have to offer too. Haha, thanks for reading.

Most Anticipated Video Games in Q4 2015

Just for Fun: I’ve been a casual gamer since I was a kid and although I do not game as much now, they continue to be a source of entertainment for me from time to time!

So with the launch of Destiny: The Taken King just a week ago, I thought it would be really cool & fun to talk about it, as well as some titles that have been released over the past month. But mainly, I’ll be mentioning some upcoming titles that will be released in the last quarter of 2015 that just looks amazing.

Now before I begin, I must mention that I currently game mainly on the PS4 and only occasionally on the PC. So please do not be upset if you don’t see any of your Xbox One exclusives on here! It’s not because I find them bad, but it’s Just Cause (hehe) I literally have no access to them! Also, I would probably only play a selected few of the games mentioned below, leaving most of them foreign to me (I have other priorities in life, LOL). So the list is based on what I currently know, and have good opinions about.

Please do not think I’m trying to replace sites like IGN or Kotaku! This is just me having fun with my own thoughts. So with that, here goes nothing!

(September releases)

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


A Hideo Kojima game.

I’ve only been exposed to the Metal Gear series recently through Ground Zeroes and I can’t say I’ve played enough to know it all. But playing Ground Zeroes for that few hours has gotten me hyped up enough to do some reading about the series. And together with watching videos & trailers like the one above, I have to agree this is one massive game and series that continues to deserve and live up to the expectations of its fans. Epic story, open world, brilliant action and tactical freedom, what else can I say? Imagine being the Big Boss once again, crumbling a base slowly while being disguised as a cardboard box the entire time. Wouldn’t you like that?

2. Mad Max


As if the locations in The Phantom Pain wasn’t enough to satisfy your desert battlefield fantasies, Mad Max gives you an entire desert wasteland to play with. Fully open to explore, the world of Mad Max is home to extreme weather conditions, deadly car chases and brutal action & adventure. This is the game that was released on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V, and though I have not watched any of the movies or played this game, I’m sure there are people out there going mad (see what I did there?) thinking as to which game to spend their money on. I mean you can build your “dream car” and “show it off” to people in the desert! If this is the kind of world you like to “live in”, why not?

3. Destiny: The Taken King


One of my sources of entertainment right now.

Personally, I’ve only played the demo for Destiny half a year ago. Well that is, until last week! I’ve been waiting for the best opportunity to get the full experience of Destiny and now, with the release of The Legendary Edition, that opportunity has come. So I’ve played a bit of it here and there over the past week with a buddy of mine and I totally enjoyed it. I think what really is praiseworthy about the game is its multiplayer experience. Compared to many multiplayer games I’ve seen & played, Destiny’s multiplayer is really stable, easy to get into and more fun than playing alone (which obviously is super important). Oh and have I mentioned that I have a thing or two for science-fiction? So what continues to appeal to me is its world & setting. In Destiny, I can literally be a Guardian of the Galaxy!

(Upcoming releases)

4. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection


Xbox has its Master Chief. Playstation has its Nathan Drake.

I’m sure many would agree that Drake is one of the most beloved characters created by the highly favored developers from Naughty Dog. He is almost like a Playstation icon, and with his return in full high-definition glory on October 9th, I’m sure many are excited to experience and find out about his adventures for the very first time. Yup, I belong to the group of people that has never touched a single Uncharted game before. But I’m sure this collection would definitely blow us away and prepare us for the next installment in the series – A Thief’s End.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate


Why is this game on my list? Because I see it as the make-it or break-it installment for the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Let’s be honest here. A lot of people would feel that the franchise’s previous installment did not meet up to the expectations that it gave people, even though I’m sure that there are good points about it. So because of that, all eyes are watching this one. Some are convinced that it will be a flop too, but I choose to have a little hope and am waiting to see how it actually turns out! Cause honestly, it has a decent setting! Victorian London is seriously beautiful so far, and has managed to catch people’s attention. But will the game play as good as it looks? We will only know for sure when it comes out on October 23rd (for consoles).

6. Fallout 4

Bethesda. The kings of open world role-playing games are back with one of their highly acclaimed franchises – Fallout.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world after the events of a nuclear war, the creators of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brings you on a journey through dystopian, mysterious, and yet beautiful re-imaginations of New England regions such as Boston. When it comes out on November 10th, fans of open world RPGs as well as post-apocalyptic genres would definitely be drawn to the sheer amount of adventure and environmental storytelling present in the game. And by the way, have you seen how your character’s face can be created by sculpting? Man, I almost fell out of my chair when I first saw it. *ding!*

7. Star Wars: Battlefront

Everybody knows that movie that’s going to be released during Christmas season this year. Everybody’s hyped up for it. But there’s also a game that everyone is hyped up for, which will give them more hype for that hyped up movie. HAHA cut the chase, this year’s Q4 has “Star Wars” labelled all over it. One of the perfect examples of video games based off movies, Star Wars: Battlefront has fans of the franchise going bonkers, and even more so since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is also just around the corner. Though it can’t be compared to how long it has been since the last movie came out, it has also been some time since the last release of a Star Wars game. With beloved characters making appearances, large-scale battles reminiscent of those in the movies, and epic dogfights in the sky, many fans may end up in a galaxy far, far away when November 17 arrives.

8. Just Cause 3

Did you enjoy The Expendables? Do you love Michael Bay films? Would you like to set the world on fire and chaos in ridiculously creative ways? Then this is the game for you!

Having played Just Cause 2 before in the past, I have to say this is one series that presents action in the craziest way possible. And because of that, this is the kind of game that makes a great stress-reliever. Just watch the video! You can do whatever you want, you see explosions more than your enemies, and you feel invincible. Maybe you would get this game when it comes out on December 1st. Just Cause…

9. Hitman

On December 8th, Agent 47 will return in this really interesting prequel/reboot (no one is exactly sure yet) to the Hitman video game series. It looks totally amazing and the developers of the game are awesome. They removed the idea of additional paid content & DLCs, as well as micro-transactions from the game, explaining their belief of it as a wrong approach. With that, players would just need to pay once and for all for the game when they purchase it, and continue to receive free updates including new missions and locations regularly. The passion & dedication of the developers can be clearly seen not just in their promise to deliver, but also in the gameplay footages released so far. Players can explore huge levels that are like sandboxes and neutralize their targets in so many possible ways, be it quietly or dramatically. Gosh, now I need to check out the movie that was shot in my country.

10. Firewatch (BONUS)

The last game on my list is an indie title that many people including myself, wants to check out right now. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact release date as of yet, though it’s worth noting the developers are hoping to release it by this year. Which is why it made it to this list!

But seriously, recent indie games have become more and more impressive and Firewatch is definitely one of those highly anticipated ones. I’m totally in love with the art style of the game, its voice acting and the interesting mystery that seems to fuel its story. Definitely watching this one closely for any news.

So that concludes my list of Most Anticipated Video Games in Q4 2015. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it and I’ll see you in the next post! Thank you!