This is a hymn that I learnt to sing in one of the hymnal sessions in the theological course. As the year is drawing to the close, I just really felt like singing this .

Year 2011 has been a very eventful year, its marks the second year of me trying to live in a foreign place. As the year draws to the close, I was doing a quick recall of everything that has happened.

Generally I thank God that he had made this year relatively peaceful. Though there are also times of difficult trials, I wonder what’s Gods scorecard for me is like? Have I been passing his expectations of me in trials? I certainly hope so though i am sure there must be a few that i have failed to do what God would want me to do.

But at the same time, as per my previous post, I am aware of the many challenges that lies ahead for me. I am sure that God will have lined up new trials and new test to help me see my own faith.

In as much as the world want to believe that God only dispenses good things, but then we know that God often gives trials to Christians to test us and to help us see the part of our faith that needs conditions. Just as what Moses describes how God trained and taught the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness

“As an eagle stirs up its nest,
  Hovers over its young,
  Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
  Carrying them on its wings,

  So the LORD alone led him,
  And there was no foreign god with him.” – Moses (Deut 32:11-12)

This journey was never meant to be easy, thats why Paul describes that heavenly walk as a race and he describes his attitude in life is just like one who disciplines himself to train for the rest (1 Cor 9:24-27)

No one who ever undergo training will say that it is a enjoyable feeling, Jesus once said this

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,and follow Me. “ – Jesus (Lk 9:23 )

Just when we think that it is impossible, that is when we have to study the scripture and read about the many who had gone before us in that path,  just as the Author of Hebrews said

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 12:1-2)

This is the verse which is quoted in this hymn, let us enjoy the hymn together.

Title : 感恩
Artist :王子音乐

让我们背起自己的十架
奔向那摆在前头的路程
仰望创始成终的主耶稣
脱去缠累放下重担

ràng wǒ ​men bèi​ qǐ​ zì ​jǐ dì​ shí jià​
bēn​ xiàng nà​ bǎ zài ​qián​ tóu dì lù​ chéng​
yǎng ​wàng chuàng ​shǐ chéng zhōng dí​ zhǔ Yē ​sū​
tuō ​qù chá lèi​, fàng ​xia zhòng​ dàn​

许多人成为我们的见证
他们像云彩围绕着我们
单单存着一颗感恩的心
时时感恩 每时感恩

xǔ ​duō rén chéng ​wéi wǒ ​men dì​ jiàn ​zhèng​
tā ​men xiàng yún ​cai wéi ​rào zhe wǒ​ men​
dān ​dān cún​ zhe yī kē​ gǎn​’ēn dì​ xīn​
shí​ shí gǎn​’ēn měi​ shí​ gǎn​’ēn​

(Chorus)
感谢主即使天色未常蓝
感谢主纵然路旁有荆棘
感谢主因为主已经应许
日子如何力量也必如何

(Chorus)
gǎn ​xiè zhǔ jí ​shǐ tiān ​sè​ wèi​ cháng lán​
gǎn ​xiè zhǔ zòng ​rán lù​ páng yǒu jīng​ jí​
gǎn ​xiè zhǔ ​yīn​ wéi ​zhǔ yǐ ​jīng​ yīng ​xǔ​
rì ​zi​ rú ​hé lì​ liang yě​ bì rú ​hé​

(Repeat From Top)
(Repeat Chorus)
(Repeat Last Line)
(Repeat From Top)
(Repeat Chorus)
(Repeat Last Line)

The Translated Hymn is like this

Title : Thanksgiving
Artist: Prince Music

Let us all take up our own cross
and run the path that is set before us
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
to lay aside every weight, and the sins that ensnares us

For we have many witness that went ahead of us
They are like clouds that surrounded us
All we need is a heart of thanksgiving
To give thanks in all circumstances

(Chorus)
Thank you God,  even though the skies are all gloomy
Thank you God , even though there are thorns at the wayside  
Thank you God, for you have given your promise to us
“As your days, so shall your strength be” (quoted  from Deut 32:25) 

(Repeat From Top)
(Repeat Chorus)
(Repeat Last Line)

Survival and Godly Life

Recently a friend shared an article on Face book entitled “ I didn’t get where I am today by being nice…

It talks about the fact that good natured and nice people earns £4500 less than their more ruthless counterpart. And it gave the readers a whole list of “Bosses from Hell”

I remember a friend of mine who gave up his comfortable live back at home, and choose to demote himself and work in a place less ruthless than his home town. Indeed, in the world of corporate greed and globalisation, it has turn the workplace into a place where the ruthless survived better.

There was another buddy of mine who lost his managerial job because he choose not to engage in corporate blame pushing . Finally he was overwhelmed by the blame and he ended up burnt out and left his workplace. He would rather lose his job than to direct the blame on his subordinate and to treat them unfairly.

As I was reading the bits and pieces of what the “bosses from hell” is capable off, and the achievements that they have achieve. I cant help wondering how many people are suffering under them. In fact, if one is working long enough we know that people that are unreasonable usually survive longer than the others.

Indeed, the modern office does not like qualities such as, fairness, justice and honestly. They are quick to push blames to others, busy writing emails saying “I did not do it, its not my fault” and the modern office rewards the people who do not work by giving them good performance rating (as you cant screw up if you never did anything) while persecuting the rest who are trying to do duties by pushing the blame onto them and starting massive email wars with others.

The way of survival in modern office is to ignore everything and be mediocre in what you are doing.  Not doing anything will usually prolong your job, as you are less likely to be a target of Corporate blame pushing.

However, this is contrary to what the scriptures tells Christian workers.
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” – Paul (Col 3:22-23)

However, to be able to do that mean that you would not be able to live long in your workplace

I remembered the words of Paul

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” –Paul 2 Tim 3:12-13  

The Descendent Of Cain and Seth

Looking at the achieve the article wrote about the “bosses from hell” I cant help but refer to what Moses wrote about the descendent of Cain in Gen 4:16-24.

Just a quick summary of what is going on in Gen 4. After the death of Abel, God gave Cain a mark, and from then on, mankind is divided into 2 fractions. The descendent of Cain and the descendent of Seth. These descended are described in Gen 4 and Gen 5.

Lets take a look at the descendent of Cain. Here are the summary of some of the descendants of Cain

1. Enoch : The first person who build city, a master city planner builder.
2. Lamech: The first person who practice polygamy, violent in nature. .
3. Jabal: The first entrepreneur, as he dwells in tents and keep livestock
4. Jubal: The first musicians celebrity
5. Tubal-Cain: The first blacksmith and metal worker

Ironically, many of what they were doing were against the commands of God, God wanted the people to populate the world, and they started to use music for secular purpose and they all life full of excitements, they went against the rules of one man and one wife.

They all led lives that had big impact on mankind isn’t it? AT the same time, you if you are looking at the descendent of Seth, there is only did a few thing

1. They are born
2. The have children
3. They died.

Please do not misunderstand that Christians are not suppose to be musicians, city builders, tradesman or entrepreneur. But what i was trying to say is that, the people of God did not glorify in their achievements in life. They lead a simple life following the commands of God and they are not at all bothered about, getting to the top.

what does this had to do with us in the present world? So far i can think of a few points.

What do we want to be remembered for?

The news article, Gen 4, all talks about the big achievements of the people of the world. They are remembered for their glorious achievements, but yet they all seems valueless in the face of God. At the same time, the people in Gen 5 were remembered by God as his truth followers. and they became the line of Godly people remembered by God.

God once spoken through Prophet Malachi

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
  And the LORD listened and heard them;
  So a book of remembrance was written before Him
  For those who fear the LORD
  And who meditate on His name.
  “ They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts,
  “ On the day that I make them My jewels.[a]
    And I will spare them
     As a man spares his own son who serves him.”  
  Then you shall again discern
  Between the righteous and the wicked,
  Between one who serves God
  And one who does not serve Him.” – Malachi (Mal 3:16-18)

So let us learn to be valuable in the eyes of God.

My friend was sharing about the vanity of the work place, and how companies nowadays kind of, through the administration of performance and appraisal, reward the people who are not doing work and yet fire and persecutes the people that are dutifully doing their duties.

Many a times in life, bosses do not remember the 1000 good things you have done, but yet they remember than 10 things that you have made mistakes for. Once a friend of mine showed me his appraisal, which is made up of many accusations of the things he hasn’t done.

Actually, my friend wanted very much to quit from the company, but yet, despite the low “Performance rating” given by his superior, they refuse to discharge him of his duties although he had written for a transfer many times.

His predicament reminded me of this little parable spoken by King Solomon
There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.” – Solomon (Eccl 9:14-15)

No wonder King Solomon called life as vanities of vanities, and all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (Eccl 1:14)

For that Parable, the Solomons conclusion is found in the next few verses
“Wisdom is better than strength.
Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard.
Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But one sinner destroys much good.” – Solomon (Eccl 9:16-18)

I really wondered, with all the funny things that are going on in our corporate culture, are we progressing or just “making a living”? We have to remind ourselves that we live in a world where 80% of work is done by 20% of the people.. while the remaining 80% of the people spends time criticising and downsizing the 20% all in the name of “Better Efficiency” and “Lowering Cost”.

It is hope that one day the management will reward the right people, encourage the right culture. But i guess with the advent of the Sukhomlinov Business Managers and the Report Hungry Generation, that will be an ideal that can never be reach. But again… I still believe in Solomon’s conclusion of the matter 😉 . Let us read it aloud together

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. ” – Solomon (Eccl 12:13-14)

Meanwhiles, for both of my friends, let us take comfort that although our work is not appreciated, we are still deemed as wise man (At least in Solomon’s eyes). Let us learn to lift our heads high as the poor wise man, and wait on the Lord for his justice.

Hahahaha This clip reminded me alot my work as an IT Engineer. Sometimes I think in the past, when new inventions such as books replaced scrolls, we do not need a help desk to teach them how to use it.

Is this a problem of over complication in usage or a bad user design? haha enjoy

I remember once when I was teaching a lesson, there was a student who shared with me this very unusual case. She spotted this particular classmates cheating in the exams, and she reported that to her teacher. I think to myself, this should be commendable, but then she raised a question to me. “Well, I really reported my classmate because I do not like him, so is this a good thing?”

Her questions reminded me of another friend of mine who wanted to report a person who was giving him alot of problems in office to the corporate ethics department. He managed to gather alot of information about the person and found many proof of his illicit dealing. But in his mind he was purely revenge. He was talking to me about this intense feeling of revenge that motivated his action.

This lead to me to think, what is God’s view over the matter? Is it really something such as Right Actions but Wrong Intention? From the 2 examples given above, the right actions are namely
reporting the evil deeds such as cheating and illicit dealings. But the wrong intention here is hatred and revenge. So we can be sure that there are things like Right actions and wrong intention.

In fact, we all know that our God is a God of justice and hate treacherous dealings. We can read it from the following verses in the bible,

“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.” Prov 11:1

“And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien- Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:5)

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you. But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Mic 6:8)

However, as we are doing the right thing, we must also remember that God also delights in mercy and forgiveness. God also revealed that although we may be doing the right thing, God is still the God that looks at the heart of man (1 Sam 16:7). As much as God likes Christians to do the right thing and report injustice and wrong doing. But God ultimately discern the hearts of the man to check for the motivation behind our actions. We can see this in the famous sermon of the mount where Jesus was talking about committing adultery in the heart (Matt 5:27-30), as well as killing a brother in the heart (Matt 5:21-26).

If we suffer wrong and is seeking revenge, always remember that it is God who would dispense justice and take vengeance (Deut 32:35)

God would want us to do justice, at the same time to love mercy. Hence, we all must be careful of what is the motivation behind our acts of justice.

Today when I was with a friend, he was feeling pretty downcast…. and being a good friend as I am, I started to hear what he had to say.

Well this friend was working in a place where there was plenty of corporate information hiding, most of the information required for his duties are hidden away, his boss did not care, all they care about is whether, my friend was able to guess the next month revenue, and whether they all get to see their funny reports which can never tally.

Unfortunately, one of the reports receive customer feedback…. which has a butterfly effect similar to the Marco polo bridge incident. Where a minor problem get blown out of proportion. They all surrounded him and accused him of “Not having a good view of his project”, “Does not put his heart into his work”. Which result to now some big shot from the customer end was making a huge fuss over the matter.

In fact, that report never had any link to any bills and was only requested by some report hungry sukhomlinov business leader who never once made any sense with the data until lately he/she got so free to look at it… and thus a simple problem got blown out of proportion. when that happen, it depends on whether one would like to resolve the dispute simply or choose to begin a barrage of emails which is the climax of the corporate game of blame pushing.

Sometimes I wonder if I were him what would I do? Indeed, in the modern game of corporate blame pushing, it is inevitable that one day that they single send an accusation to us, in order to save their own backs. When you are wrongly accused, or verbally abused by your bosses, how should one react?

As I am praying about it, the Holy spirit allowed me to recall the scene of Jesus at his Crucifixion

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.” (Matt 27:27-31)

Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. (Matt 27:38-44)

Then, I recalled what Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Over here Jesus continue to do the work that is necessary for him to finish (Despite all the accusation and insult he received)… During that prayer, I recall another scripture spoken by Elder Peter

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
” Who committed no sin,Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet 2:18-25)

But understand this is one thing, I can only pray to God that he would give my friend the strength in spirit to withstand the reviling and accusation brought before him for a simple problem.

Once I remember when i just step out to work, there was many types of companies that interviewed me. In Singapore, there were companies for various sizes, there are companies as big as 400-500 staff, and there are some as small as 6 staff. The like to give themselves many types of abbreviation. Commonly in Singapore, you can hear the following term

MNC : Multinational Company
SME: Small and Medium Enterprise
Listed Company
Local Company with a Global Presence

What does these term really mean to an average worker? Sometimes I remember during the interviews sometimes I asked.. “So, what is the main reason why I should join you?” and the interviewer may say something like “Ohhh,,, You will now have a chance to work in a MNC… (Or Listed Companies). Once in my project, there was this client who always like to brag about her days as a CEO of some MNC.. (From what I know, sells toilet papers only).

Sometimes when she was leading her SME, she is still unaware that there is a huge difference between her ex MNC and her current SME.. she keep making noise over the slightest matter saying “You know… when I was working in the MNC.. I will never accept this type of quality” and over a very trivial matter she made everyone slog for hours and giving excellent productivity.

In fact.. so what is the main difference about being in MNC, listed company SME? To an worker who draws a monthly salary, so how does all these things apply to them?

MNC
A MNC merely means that this company has facilities and other assets other than their home country. They have a global management, very big and diverse businesses. Note that some MNC are merely combination of many small and medium companies which may or many not coordinate their efforts in profit making.

Such companies had an advantage of a huge capital, and the ability to buy up many small companies… leveraging on them to provide service at a much lower cost compared to other smaller companies.. However, their disadvantage is a lack of the overall view of all their businesses, only relying on numbers to make their decision.

One of the major characteristic of the MNC is that they have the highest number of Sukhomlinov business leaders and and fakes.. In good times this is alright because the company has massive capital, and since the management looks at numbers only. The Sukhomlinov leaders and managers can make good looking report (AKA Magical Dress in the Emperors New Clothes) to fool the management. And since the management only has time to look at numbers.. this is usually suffice.

Usually such organizations is full of corporate inefficiency and are slow in making decision. Due to the size and the number of people.. Simple decision can take thousand of years… and the Sukhomlinov leaders created alot of complicated business processes.. slowing down everything.

A MNC is somewhat like a huge monster who needs huge resources in order to maintain its business operations. This is the reason why it needs huge ERP and other softwares, however, with the abundance of Sukhomlinov leaders, they creates tons and tons of paperwork and administrative duties depriving the company of the ability to make quick business decision which is necessary for the current business climate.

For SME employing staff from an MNC, be careful of the creation of many MNC like corporate structure and inheriting the business politics and the start of corporate inefficiency. It would be disastrous to think that the small and miserable enterprise can have the capital of a MNC to maintain such corporate inefficiency.

I never realized I wrote so much, so I better divided up the discussion into 3 post.