Lord, show me your glory

I was trudging my way back home on Friday evening after work. My day was mundane, my soul was down, my relationships were not exactly rosy and I felt unaccomplished in so many aspects. It was one of those days when you feel, you know, sian. I was dissatisfied.

So I requested to God, “Lord, show me your glory. I know when I see your glory, my soul will be filled once again.”

God replied, “See my glory in the cool evening breeze that you are feeling on your face. See my glory through you breathing and walking right now. See my glory in the house that I have given you. See my glory in your parents – I have kept your mother safe from an accident she met earlier this month.”

And joy and hope filled me. Because the Lord has shown His glory and love to me.

What to eat in New Zealand (South Island)

I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN ONE MONTH SINCE I’M BACK FROM MY TRIP TO NZ!

Where did time go? Well, although one month has passed, I am still thinking fondly of that beautiful country. I had such a lovely time there, enjoying the crisp spring air and majestic mountains and lakes in NZ’s South Island. I think I may take some time to blog my trip itinerary down but it’s ok, I think I will blog about food first! So, people often wonder what they should eat in NZ. Is it going to be fish & chips all the way? Well, here are some recommendations!

1) Fergburger, Queenstown

Just try their classic – The Fergburger (NZ$11.50) and you will be an advocate! The lettuce and patty were so fresh, the aioli sauce so tasty and the burger buns so pillowy soft, I wondered “What food sorcery is this?” The burger was amazing. I wolfed the whole burger down on my own. Good thing is this burger shop opens till the wee hours of the morning. 

2) Taco Medic, Queenstown

At NZ$7 per taco, this is a hearty meal if you order 2. I ordered The Bushman (recommended by the staff) and The Stockman. Both were delicious but I personally prefer The Stockman. This meal is awesome when you sit at the lakefront and enjoy the sunset while eating.

3) Eden Alley (Korean food), Riccarton, Christchurch 

Riccarton is unofficially known as Chinatown of Christchurch due to its large Asian migrant communities. DR and I had our Airbnb stay for 2 nights around this area. Recommended by our Korean hosts, we trooped down to Eden Alley for some Korean food… The weather was cold so we needed soup to warm our tummy. And little did we know we would return again for the 2nd time because their oxtail and beef ribs clear broth (NZ$18) was sooooo awesome! I also enjoyed their kimchi jiggae (NZ$15). These soups came with rice and side dishes. Price-wise, I dare say that it is much more affordable than some Korean restaurants in Singapore! 

4) Kohan Japanese Restaurant, Lake Tekapo

Sushi. With a view. Of the gorgeous, oh-so-blue Lake Tekapo. Enough said. The Lake Tekapo Roll you see in this picture costs NZ$17. The portions are huge and I enjoyed having some rice, after eating steak, chips and burgers for the past many days. You can skip the sashimi (NZ$15) though because there is nothing special to shout about. There are better ones with decent portions in Singapore. 

5) Creme Brulee fudge at The Remarkable Sweet Shop, Queenstown

Sorry, no picture of the fudge but I find it interesting that the Kiwis like fudge. Fudge is soooo sweet but I understand people usually enjoy eating it with tea or coffee, like a dessert. I thought others might not like it due to its saccharine sweetness, so I only bought one. Never did I know the creme brulee fudge (NZ$6.80 per slice) would grow on me. I really enjoyed it after I brought it back to Singapore. The Remarkable Sweet Shop sells nougats too. I bought the nutty one which I gave to my mom. 

So, this is the introduction for now. I will add more to this list when I have some time. Hope this post has been useful if you are planning for your trip to beautiful NZ (:

Things you need in your fridge

Realise this was in the draft. Since I am now on WordPress, let’s get this published!

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DR and I enjoy grocery shopping together. After staying on our own for slightly more than 1 year (oh my goodness… Where did time go??), these are the things we buy most often/need minimally in stock at home to survive:
1. Carrots

2. Eggs

3. Cheese

4. Garlic

5. Seasonings (e.g. salt, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce)

6. Navel oranges (because they are sweet and easy to eat as fruits)

7. Apples (only NZ’s Pacific Rose apples allowed in the house… They are the best!)

8. Greenfields milk

9. Rice

10. Nissin and Myojo instant noodles

11. Yakult 

12. Fruit juice 

When the worship song that you sing does not resonate with your heart

There are good days when your heart is bursting of joy, gladness and thanksgiving. On such days, oh, you worship with all your strength and conviction. 

But there are times your heart just feels accused and lousy. And when the worship song you sing is about loving God with every inch of your soul, and loving Him beyond everything else, deep in your heart, you feel that it is not true. That was what happened one Sunday morning – I felt like a hypocrite singing that I love the Lord with all my being when I know there are still things I care a lot about, things that I am unwilling to let God take over like my emotions, my fears. The struggle of sin was real.I felt accused. 

But that moment, I knew I needed to tune myself to God’s word. Romans 8:1-2 came to mind. God promised that He has and will set us free from the sin and death – I need the Holy Spirit to help me. So at that moment, I prayed to the Lord. I told God I needed the Holy Spirit to help me, to help me relinquish the control I wanted to have, and to help my heart yield to Him.

Then, I worshipped our Lord, knowing that I can stand before the Lord in the righteousness of Christ. 

On believer’s freedom

The notion of God giving us the freedom from sins through Jesus has been discussed many times. When face with an issue about practices that are seemingly ‘un-Christian’ (e.g. can we eat food sacrificed to idols? Can we get a tattoo?) we often fall back to the verse on believer’s freedom in 1 Corinthians:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
1 Corinthians 10:23‭-‬26 NIV

The conclusion after the discussion of these verses is that if it is not constructive or may cause another brother or sister to stumble in their faith, we should not do it.

However, here in Galatians chapter 5 verse 13, the apostle Paul tells us more vividly and actively how we should use our believer’s freedom – that we use it not for self-indulgence, but through love, become slaves to one another.

Slaves to one another. So, the freedom we have is not for our personal benefit, to do anything we want since Christ has made us right before God. Instead, we use it to serve one another deeply.

How can we desire God? – Explained through bak chor mee craving

“How can I desire God?”, a young girl asked me recently. I see her yearning to have a deeper walk with God, yet she does not know how to create this desire. The heart is willing but she doesn’t know where to start.

Instead of answering her, the Spirit led me to ask this question, “What will make you desire a particular food?”

“We all sometimes have a deep craving for a particular kind of food, let’s say bak chor mee (a local pork noodle dish) – so how does this come about?”

  1. We keeping reading and hearing about how good the bak chor mee is. I read food reviews which describe how springy the mee kia were, how the fragrant lard and vinegar coated the noodles and how fresh the pig liver and pork were in the dish; this is when I know I got to have it. In the same way, we need to keep hearing from others who have also experienced God. We need to read and listen to testimonies, listen to the sermons to know how mighty, how generous, how lovely, how magnificent, how strong our God is. When you keep hearing His Word, you will want to know Jesus better and taste His goodness. This is why fellowship is important – we read and hear about how good God is through our pastors, brothers and sisters.
  2. We have tasted bak chor mee before, and know that it is good. In the same way, when we personally have experienced God and tasted the goodness of His many promises in the Bible and witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (e.g. seeing how your bad temper can be controlled), we will desire more of God.
  3. You haven’t had bak chor mee for a long time, and although you had different kinds of food during this period of time, deep down, you know only bak chor mee can satisfy you. This applies when I have been overseas where they serve almost the same food to me for more than one week, and all I can think of eating when I land in Singapore is bak chor mee. Much as the food I have tried overseas were novel and I really like some of them, I know my first love is always bak chor mee. In the same way, sometimes, we want to try many different kinds of things, away from God, away from the “holy moly church stuff”. But deep inside, we know only Jesus can satisfy our souls. Hence, in the same way, a desire for God, to be with Him will come, interestingly, when we are away from Him. When a desire for Christ rises in such a situation, pray that it will increase and cling on to Him; and go on to #1 and #2!

The above is my simple, personal view of how I think we can create and sustain a desire for God. Would like to hear from you on other ways for us to sustain a desire for Christ 🙂

Staying at the top floor of an HDB block

When it was time to choose our HDB flat about five years ago, I remember I had to arm myself with knowledge on selecting a good flat. The golden rules I was given by older people were:

  1. Avoid west-facing flats, so that your house will not bear the heat of the afternoon sun.
  2. Avoid the flats at the top floor because it is usually very hot up there and there might be leaks since the water tanks would be directly above the top-floor flat.

I did not follow one of the rules and I did not regret it. I chose a flat at the top floor.

I was sure I had to avoid west-facing flats as I personally experienced the heat at my parents’ place, which had some afternoon sun. If the afternoon sun (and it’s not even direct) could make me so irritated (especially after taking afternoon naps), I must make sure I don’t get a flat that will make me frustrated when I return home.

During the selection of my HDB flat, I was concerned about staying at the top floor due to the golden rules I mentioned above. So, choosing one was a huge leap of faith. Nonetheless, the signs I encountered before my flat selection helped me take this faith step. The signs include meeting people who stayed at the top level and shared how much they enjoyed it.

Here are the pros and cons of staying at the top floor.

The bad

  • The lift stops at almost every level in the morning when you use it to go down. Please factor in an extra 5 minutes for lift-taking in the morning when going to work. And no, I won’t walk down more than 20 levels worth of stairs.
  • Top-level flats are usually susceptible to house break-ins as it’s quieter up here (e.g. less movement up and down the staircase). We installed a CCTV and window grilles to mitigate this potential problem.
  • Some delivery companies charge by the number of levels to deliver big bulky items that can’t fit into the lift (e.g. mattresses), so imagine the amount you have to pay if they have to deliver by climbing the stairs… *shudders* But in our case, it hasn’t been an issue. A standard king-sized mattress can fit into the lift.

The good

  • The view up here is beautiful. The skies we see are always full of surprises.
  • No noisy footsteps from neighbours above.
  • No pipes in the toilet. Spacious toilets.
  • Higher ceiling than all other flats below – penthouse feeling. Good for us because Hubbs is quite tall.
  • And it’s not hot at all, because we don’t get the afternoon sun. It’s windy in the evenings. So the key thing is to avoid west-facing flats.
  • Top-level flats get higher resale value, although this doesn’t really relate to me because we plan to stay in our flat for a long, long time.

In summary, I would recommend you to get a top-level flat if you can, as long as you don’t get one that is west-facing. Best is if you get one with an unblocked view. The beautiful skies we see and the relaxed vibe we get from the extra space at the top level make those (ad-hoc) inconveniences we get seem so insignificant.

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