We do not bury the dead, but plant them

1 Corinthians 15: 35-49

There is a hope in death. Death is not burial but planting.

The resurrection is glorious, hopeful, real and even creative.

  • The worry about what kind of body we will have is as irrelevant as the question of what kind of plant will emerge when a seed is planted (v37). When we talk about the resurrection, we are not talking about reanimated corpses… rather, we know that God gives us new bodies! God makes all things different (v39-40), so your new body may well be very different from mine. The point is: our resurrection bodies are as different from our current ones as a plant is from the seed that is planted. They are not just different, but also glorious- they are what they were meant to be! We take much more pleasure in flowers than in seeds. We get far more nourishment from fruit than we do from seeds. The flowers and the fruit are what we get when the seeds become truly what they were made to be.
  • The plant and seed analogy also shows that there is continuity. A plant does not just emerge from the ground. The plant and the seed are not disconnected. If you plant a tomato seed, you get a tomato plant. If you plant a sunflower seed, you get a sunflower plant. The body of the plant may be different from the seed, but the DNA of the seed is exactly the same as that in the plant. In the same way, at the resurrection, our new bodies are not going to be so divorced from what we are right now.  You and I are still going to be who we are. Everyone who has ever died in the Lord will still be who they were. The difference is that they are NOW the plant.
  • What a wonderful, hopeful, glorious picture with which you and I can face the death of a loved one. When Christ returns, we are not going to be reanimated corpses. We are not going to be strangers who are disconnected from who we are now and not recognising each other. NO, at that time, we will be the plants… plants that our lives now are the seeds of.
  • Our bodies now are perishable, but our bodies then will be imperishable. There will be no hearing loss, no blurry vision, no arthritis, no dementia. Right now, we find dying and death sad because it robs us of the glory and honour that we once had–it is sad to see somebody not as they once were because death drags us down. When a seed is buried, it is covered in dirt. Yet, when a seed is buried, it is then that we get the glory and the beauty of the flower! Seeds are ok, but don’t love them too much because a garden that is filled with sweet fruit and bright flowers is REALLY GLORIOUS! We do not know what our resurrection bodies will look like, but we can be sure that their glory will surpass that of our present bodies- just as the glory of a flower surpasses that of its seed. Our bodies that are sown in weakness will be raised in power! The hope of the resurrection is that our new bodies will not fail, and will not break. In our new physical bodies, we will not be desiring  pointless things. We will thus love and pursue only the best, the purest, the most loving thoughts and actions, because we will be filled and led by the spirit.
  • We have not buried our loved ones who have died in the Lord. We have simply planted them. We have hope in death as we wait for the beautiful bloom of their flower

There is a hope for life

  • Although the plants are not yet, the seed is still ours now. We are living now. We are not just waiting for the flowers to spring up. There is work to do! v58 stand firm, let nothing move you, give yourselves fully to the Lord. If we have hope in death, if there is hope for reunion with loved ones in imperishable bodies, and if there is glory waiting to blossom and we look forward to a life that will never die, then we should NOT “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Rather, there is something that we can invest in today, labour that we can give ourselves to that will bear fruit in eternity. We can and should cultivate the seeds today by working hard for the fruit we expect to come later. 
  • Because we believe in the resurrection, we do not feel any pressure to complete our bucket lists. You are not going to miss out. We are free from the obsessions over our carb intake, our gym routines and our career plans. We do not have to be misguided by the advice to “maximise this life” and “seize the day”- we have hope for a glorious eternity.
  • Our hope for life thus helps us choose between 30 minutes in the gym vs 30 minutes in the bible, summer holiday vs summer missions. The hope of the resurrection helps us make choices that are not meaningless.

This is a hope from heaven

  • v50 Our current perishable bodies are not the right ones for God’s kingdom. Our bodies were made for earth, from the earth (v47). We need new ones fit for God’s kingdom in heaven- just like the one Jesus already has! Jesus has a physical resurrection body, so will ours be. And just as spiritual his resurrection body is, so will ours be. We inherit our earthly body from Adam, but we inherit our heavenly bodies from the life-giving spirit that is Jesus.
  • The man from heaven brings life to the dead of the earth. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25) Jesus broke death. If that is true, Jesus will raise those who belong to him, follow him and rely on his death as a punishment for their sins. His resurrection is a blueprint of what will happen to us when our turn comes to be raised from the dead!

Holiness is possible

I heard this sermon at St Helen’s Bishopsgate when I visited London in February 2016. I remember that God spoke loudly to me that day, and made a few notes on a scrap piece of paper then. It has only taken me 3 years to finally dig out that piece of paper to revisit what I learnt and share it on this blog…

Romans 12: 1-8 (By Kevin DeYoung)

You can be holy.

Christ doesn’t just save us from sin’s penalty, but also from sin’s power.

Don’t just wax lyrical about what Christ has saved us from. What about what Christ has saved us to?

To be passionate in our pursuit of holiness, we must first establish that holiness is possible, that we can present ourselves holy and acceptable as God’s children.

Why do we not take being “holy and acceptable to God” seriously? Is it because we equate obedience to “sinless perfection”? (and as a result not believe that holiness is possible) Don’t. You can be holy and acceptable by works that are TRULY good, albeit not PERFECTLY good.

Our good works are accepted through Christ because God is a loving Heavenly Father. Consider a child who promptly and cheerfully responds to requests to clean up his/her room- the corners of the bedsheets are not properly tucked in, the toys are dumped messily together in a box, the clothes are folded but wrinkled. Yet, despite the imperfections, the parents do not reprimand but seek to praise the child.

Yes, the work may not be perfect. Yes, you could have done it much better yourself. Yet, it was truly good and pleasing to the parents. Because it was done sincerely, cheerfully and obediently.

Why is it so important to seek holiness and believe that obedience is possible?

1.  If you don’t, you will give up in sanctification

  • If you think that God is austere, peevish and highly temperamental, and that everything you do is judged by his stern eye whereby there is nothing we can do to please him, you will give up. If you think that you will be a spiritual failure all the time- why would you even bother?

2. You will relativise all sins as being equal in God’s eyes

  • When every sin is seen as the same, we are less likely to fight any sin at all.
  • There can be the mentality of “Why pursue holiness if one sin is going to make me as bad as Hitler in God’s eyes?”
  • Another example is “why should I stop sleeping with my girlfriend? I will still struggle with lust in my heart.”  Yes, lust is a sin and we must fight against it, but the Lord would rather we fight against sin than giving in to fornication.
  • Yes, it seems humble to act as if that no sin is worse than another. Yet then we lose the impetus to pursue holiness.

3. If we don’t understand the possibility of holiness, we make it difficult to hear the warnings in scripture

  • The warnings in scripture are meant to scare the hell out of us.
  • But if we do not believe that holiness is possible, we will read passages like 1 Corinthians 6 where we are told that the greedy, the covetous, the idolators, adulterers and homosexuals  will not inherit the kingdom of heaven… and yet we will think “well, we are all guilty of these things.” And so we won’t take it seriously.
  • If we think that we are at all times guilty of every one of these sins to the utmost, then we will not hear the sternness of these warnings when we really need to hear it.
  • We need to know that even though we are imperfect and sinful, we can still be sincerely obedient Christians. If not, we will not hear the sirens go off.

4. If we do not understand the possibility of holiness, we will be robbed of one of our means of assurance.

  • We are meant to live in such a way that we manifest the evidences of the spirit’s work in our lives that provide confirming support that we are indeed children of God.
  • Yet, many of us do not give ourselves permission to see evidences of grace. We look at passages like 2 Corinthians 13 “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith” and often choose to see that as a scary warning.
  • This is really difficult, because the more mature you are in Christ, the more you see your own sin. The closer you are to Him, the further away you seem.
  • Assurance must thus be a community project. Speak to others– ask them if they can see fruit in your life… evidences of grace in your life. Not necessarily perfect fruit, but increasing fruit.

5. If we do not have this understanding of holiness being possible, we will flatten and impoverish our relationship with God.

  • You may think that there is NOTHING you can do to make God more or less pleased with me. Well, this is true and false at the same time. Yes, you cannot make yourself more or less justified… but you can live in such a way that will either please your heavenly father or grieve the spirit. It is like a marriage– the union is fixed/ stable, but the communion can ebb and flow.
  • You have a dynamic relationship with God. God while not ceasing to love us, can still be wondrously angry at his children. Justification does not make God indifferent to our sin- he can be angry and reprove us. On the other hand, know that you can also please God.

Don’t live your whole life with a low level sense of guilt and shame. This is not how God meant for us to live. If you are truly guilty of unrepentant sin, you run to the cross, ask for forgiveness and know the sweet serenity of a clean conscience. And when you are walking with Christ in humility, repentance and obedience, you ought to know the smile of your Heavenly Father.

God is not unmoved by our attempts at obedience. You are allowed and expected to be obedient. You never will be perfect. You cannot do anything to earn justification. But as a born-again sinner, you don’t have to be a spiritual failure. By the mercies of God, you CAN present your bodies as a living sacrifice– holy and acceptable to God. There is no righteousness that will make you right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right, by Christ and through faith alone, by undeserved mercy alone, your righteous deeds are not filthy in God’s sight.

Your obedience is precious, pleasing and possible.

Your body is made for more

Over all these years, I don’t think I have really heard preaching on sexual immorality that is so clear and sound as this:

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Do you use the CD drive on your computer as a cupholder? If so then you are going to put your cup of tea on it and break it. Do you use the computer mouse as a foot pedal? Then you will stand on it and break it. When you misunderstand what something is meant for then you are going to misuse it.

Similarly, if we misunderstand what our bodies are for- we will misuse it. At the root of sexual immorality is faulty thinking about our bodies.

(Sexual immorality= sex with someone or thinking about sex with someone who is not our spouse)

2 faulty philosophies

1. Indulging in desire= freedom

  • “I have the right to do anything” (v12)– this is often used to justify sex whenever and with whomever.
    • Saying that I should not have sex before marriage is depriving me of my freedom. Saying that I should not watch porn because I am married is denying me of my right to do what I want.
  • However, Paul wants to turn the issue of rights into an issue of “what is beneficial.”
  • Indulging in your desires can in fact cause you to lose your freedom (see below).

2. Sex is a bodily appetite.

  • “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food” (v13)– the reason we have stomachs is because we need food. It is natural and right for me to feed it. Similarly, (sexual) appetite is a bodily desire– it exists to be satisfied.
  • This view considers that the body is an animal and it needs feeding.
  • God is going to destroy the body eventually anyway.

BUT don’t have such a low view of your body. Don’t abuse and misuse it by enslaving it to appetites.

4 greater truths:

1.  Your body is for eternity, not just now.

  • Is your body like a non road-worthy car that is destined only for the scrapyard? Is your body therefore something that you can feel licensed to thrash because it is but a transitory shell? NO. By His power, God raised Jesus from the dead– and we will be raised also (v14). Jesus had a physical body after he was raised… he was not a ghost or a hologram. He was real. Jesus did not ditch his body at the resurrection and so neither will we. Your eternal future will be in a physical body… not just as a spirit. Your body will one day be raised. It is not disposable. So stop and think– what will you use your body for today?

2. Your body is Christ’s, not just yours.

  • v15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” All Christians are united in Jesus and become his physical body here on earth. He is the head and we are the body. You are a body part- a limb, an eye or a hand. Your body is part of Jesus’ body. When you misuse your body in sexual sin, you are misusing Christ’s body.
  • Sexual sin is serious, because it is about uniting 2 people. When a man and a woman have sex– it is a profound act of joining together as “2 will become 1 flesh.” When you have sex with a prostitute, you become joined to the prostitute. If you take what is joined to Jesus (i.e. yourself, as a body part of Jesus) and join it with a prostitute, then you are joining Jesus to a prostitute (or any other person you are tempted to get sexual gratification from)! You are taking Jesus into that person– can you see the perversity of that?!

So flee from it (v18).

  • Take active steps to go wholeheartedly in the opposite direction.
  • Fleeing is NOT going as far as you can but stopping short.
  • If you want to spend alone time together then do it in public. If you want to stay at home together then spend it with friends.
  • Fleeing is moving yourself and your laptop/ phone to a public space.
  • Fleeing is confessing a porn addiction to a friend.
  • Fleeing is moving away to another room from the married person you are tempted to flirt with. Fleeing is going home.

Flee because your body is meant for more.

But what is more?

3. Your body is a  temple, not a supermarket

  • Our bodies are not places for getting. You go to the supermarket to get. To get all that I need– to get what will fulfil me.
  • BUT no, our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (v19)– a place for giving. A temple is where God lives. It is a place of worship- where our best is given as an offering to God. A temple carries an amazing honour, dignity and reverence. Do not belittle your body.
  • Change the question of appetite to a question of worship.
  • Think: what is the best I can give as an act of worship? If you focus less on what you can get (i.e. how it will make you feel, how much you want it), and focus more on what you can give in order to honour God (v20)– you will not be sexually tempted as much.

4. Your body is free, not a slave.

  • If you subscribe to the 2 faulty philosophies (“I have a right to do anything” and “sex is but a bodily appetite”), they will make you a slave.
  • Surrendering to appetite and desires makes you a slave to desire, and a slave to the misuse of our bodies.
  • As a slave, you need to be bought. And that is what Jesus has done through his death and resurrection. He saved us from the teeth of desire. “You were bought with a price” (v20), so you are no longer your own- you are ransomed and can know true freedom.

Please see that the Christian view of sex is not about being prudish or restrictive or traditional. Instead, it is driven by a very very high view of what Jesus has done for us and what that means for our bodies. The bible does not say “stop having sex.” Instead, it says that the message of Jesus is good news for our bodies. Our bodies are honourable, glorious and liberated. Be joined to Jesus and be transformed so you can know real freedom from desire.


The gospel of Jesus makes a difference to your body.

It makes a difference to how you should view your body in the world of sex.

Believe that your body is for eternity- don’t use it for whatever you want now.

Believe that your body belongs to Jesus and is joined to him, so be careful who you join yourself to.

Flee if there is a risk of joining it to someone else.

Remember that your body is a temple- use it for worship.

Your body is free- flee from sexual immorality and do not be mastered by your appetites.

Your body is SO MUCH MORE.

The story so far…

I cannot believe that it is May 2017 already and I have not posted a single blog since my birthday last year! So much has happened, yet if I really sat down and wrote out the details of the last half a year, I am going to be here typing for the next 6 hours and this post is going to be incredibly long and tedious to read. So here’s what happened in a snapshot…

Life

Baking

So, I have somehow developed a keen interest in baking over the last few months. Since about Christmas time, I have been baking like a mad woman. When I am at home alone, in the quiet of the evening or nighttime, enveloped by the cosy warmth emanating from the oven, pottering around the kitchen and concentrating on making something awesome… I find this process extremely therapeutic. When I am baking, I forget about the stresses of the work day- the missed cannulas, the difficult intubations, the failed regional blocks… all these failures are wiped out of my mind as I get into my “flow.” All I can think of is the math calculations as I adjust my ingredient amounts, all I can hear is the whirring of my mixer, all I can feel is the heat from the oven, and all I can smell is the delicious sweetness of the sugar and butter and flour being whipped together into batter. At the end of each baking experiment, I am also presented with the satisfaction and reward of a dozen stunning cupcakes, or a scrumptious tray of cookies. I have truly fallen in love with baking!

Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. Indeed, the process of baking marries up my love for food and for science. I am so curious to find out what chemical reactions are going on as I add water to flour, or sugar to the batter, or what happens when the air bubbles in my batter expand within and escape out of the cake’s gluten structure under heated conditions. I find all of this fascinating, and have gone so far as to purchase a textbook on “how baking works.” So far, I have read about 4 chapters of it and I am being enlightened with each page I turn. I am reading about heat transfer, and the properties of the different materials used in bakeware. I am learning about which ingredients are tenderisers or tougheners, which ones are moisturisers and driers. I am enlightened about what happens to each of the ingredients at the molecular level as you mix them, or heat them, and cool them. I’ll admit that I have not really done much reading outside of medicine… and this (text)book has been a real pleasure to get back into leisurely reading with.

I think my baking escapades have also been made much more pleasurable and successful since using recipes from youtube celebrity baker cupcakejemma. Her recipes are so unbelievably incredible. It also helps that I have a very willing cake/ sweet-treats eater friend who always welcomes my attempts to feed him cake. I now try and find any and every reason to bake him cake, knowing that he will eat it (and I can just have one or two only instead of getting fat from eating all my own baked goods).

Fitness

So, whilst in one aspect of my life I am baking away with highly calorific butter and sugar and flour, another aspect of my life has been focussed on getting rid of said calories. Oh how life contradicts itself in so many ways! I have been spending a lot of time in the gym with Emma doing squats, deadlifts, chest presses and lunges… all in the hopes of building some muscle that will burn calories even when I rest. I have to say that my progress has been incredibly slow… potentially to the point of being non-existent. I am so frustrated as I have been working so so so hard and yet am hardly seeing any result at all. After all, I have ramped my physical activity up by at least 80% compared to the days before I joined the gym– when all I did was to consume cake, chocolate, cookies and coke… and when the most exercise I ever did was to go shopping for new clothes in the department store.

Perhaps I really do have to work much harder on my diet. Rumour has it that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% diet, so I may need to rethink my intake! However, this is also part of the reason for my aggravation because my diet has improved by leaps and bounds since my cake and coke days.  Now, I definitely give a lot more thought into what I put into my body. I hardly drink any coke at all these days, and I do not buy chocolate bars anymore. I still eat cake and cookies but I am quite a lot more watchful over how much I do actually have. So, with clean(er) eating and a heck of a lot more exercise, why am I still not shaping up nicely as I would really like? Do I really have to go cold turkey and eat bland food that I do not enjoy for the rest of my life? I am so disappointed because even my clothes do not feel any looser than they did before I started this “healthy living” thing a year ago. I am not giving up though… like I said before, Rome was not built in a day, and I did not get fat overnight. I am going to have to keep working at this body… try different activities, different diets… and hopefully someday I will reap the results that I desire. To me, strong is the new skinny. I want to be lean, toned and strong…

J, go and try out a new workout programme, a new gym class, yoga, dance, swimming… it may be scary to go at first, especially when you are on your own and you fear looking like a real clown amidst the experts. But please, just start.

I have been taking fitness inspiration from a celebrity personal trainer on instagram. Her name is Kayla Itsines. She does not advocate the whole “I wish I have your body” mentality- and I agree…. yet, she is SO stunningly beautiful that I cannot help but look at her and think “goals!” I guess you can say she is my fitspiration? Seeing her so beautiful and strong really motivates me to keep working on my own body.


Closer to home, Jamie Teo (Miss Singapore 2001 and former TV personality) has been a real inspiration and motivation to me too. She posts her home workout videos regularly and you can clearly see that her body has been well sculpted by all that exercise! She is so beautiful!

My final other source of inspiration comes from a man. He is none other than the 22 year old Australian Olympic swimmer Cameron McEvoy! This man is really like a machine. Somehow, he has managed to balance being a swimming champion with academia as he pursues his dream of becoming a physicist. I love seeing how he works out so hard both in the gym and at the pool to be in the best physical shape for the swimming championships. Yet, he alternates his posts from the pool with geeky posts of complex mathematical equations, or how he is reading up on the work of physics greats such as Richard Feynman. I love that someone is actually able to be so dedicated BOTH to sport and to science- something that is so difficult to do when both disciplines demand 100% dedication from 100% of you. To see someone being able to achieve/ or at least work to achieve such a feat is a real inspiration to me. And it helps that he looks really cute too.

Work

Prizes

So, the last time I went to Edinburgh in November, I had actually gone to attend the Patient Safety Conference where I presented a poster on my Ultrasound Screen cover project. I am extremely happy to say that I won the first prize for my poster! When I was there, I was able to explain the ideas behind my project to the other delegates and quite a few consultants from other hospitals around the country were asking me about how they can get hold of one of my screens. I am now desperately trying to get the hospital’s innovation team to help me further develop my product. Hopefully, we will eventually be able to sell the intellectual property to a commercial company so they can manufacture it in bulk in industry (compared to my homemade craft project of a prototype at present). I am excited as to what can possibly become of this little project– after all, the entire idea and concept had come completely from God as an answer to my prayers. I am extremely grateful to what the Lord has blessed me with and I really want to take this forward- to the rest of the UK and even beyond!

Oh by the way, when I was at the conference, I also had a chance to meet and even speak to Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth and sister to Prince Charles). She is the patron of our Royal College and was in Scotland for St Andrew’s day anyway. And so, she came to attend our event. It was immensely exciting because I have never ever seen royalty up close and personal before. As trainees with posters to present, we were given the opportunity to speak to the Princess when she came to view our posters. We all had a short briefing before her arrival whereby we were taught to address her as “Your royal highness” at the first instance (and to curtsy as we said it) followed by “mam” (not mOm) thereafter. Frankly, I was so nervous about seeing her and speaking to her. I was worried that I would call her “Your majesty”– which is wrong as it refers to the queen. Also, I had no idea how to curtsy in a pair of trousers and so I just bobbed when I saw her. When I eventually got chatting to her, I actually found that she is very human. And a very nice one too. She was very friendly and seemed to genuinely take interest in what work I had done (though I honestly do not think she really understood what the heck I was doing).

Oh, one interesting thing happened too. After the adrenaline rush of having spoken to the Princess, and after speaking to quite a few other delegates about my work as I stood in front of my poster presenting it, I decided that I was parched. I found an opportune moment when I could leave my poster to get a drink. I had my eyes set on a jug of tea that was on a table about 4 meters away from me. In order for me to get to the tea, I had to walk behind Princess Anne (who was mingling/chatting to some other important people) on one side and a group of female doctors on the other side. I calculated my steps and moved swiftly towards hydration. However, just as I was walking behind the Princess, a female doctor from the other side took a step back towards me, effectively trying to squash me. In my haste to avoid her, I accidentally took a step towards the Princess and basically kicked her heel. Can you imagine the horror on my face as she turned around to find out who her “assailant” was. I was so shocked that all I could manage was “I am so sorry, so so sorry.” Oh man! But what a story for me to tell in the years to come– that I have kicked royalty in the heel in this lifetime!

In February, I took my project to present at the LSA trainee’s prize competition as well. It is something that I have been determined to do for the last few years but never really had anything that was “competition material.” This time, I submitted my entry and was determined to win the beautiful Jackson-Rees medal. I knew that the work was good and that I had worked hard on it. That night was going to be the night for me to present it orally and do it some justice! I practiced my oral presentation over and over again. I needed to sound enthusiastic and convicted by my own work. I needed to to be engaging and charismatic. I needed to keep my words understandable despite the fast pace that I had to go at to get everything I needed to say in. Yet on that night, I was SO nervous. When I walked into the lecture theatre, I saw DG to whom I admitted that I had so many butterflies in my stomach that it felt like I was sitting yet another exam. DG being DG told me not to be silly and to remember the 3Cs! I was 3rd in the line of 4 presenters. I think I eventually did a reasonable job of presenting my project. I was asked a load of questions, some of which I really struggled to piece of coherent answer for. I was desperate for a win. And yet I lost. I was 2nd place- still considered a win to most people especially since there is still an associated cash prize. However, I really really really wanted the shiny medal. I was disappointed. And then I was cross. Why? Because the 1st prize winner (an arrogant junior of mine) came over to me and said “I’m sorry I beat you.” Like, seriously? Anyway, now that the emotions of the night have all settled down, I am ultimately still very grateful to God. 2nd prize is still a prize. God is still good to me. And in the hilarious words of my wise mother “Don’t be disappointed. Sometime 2nd is better than 1st. Like singing competitions, 2nd prize winner always 发展得比冠军还要好 later. Remember it’s just a prize. So be happy that 你榜上有名,还有钱拿。你好强啊。一人之下,万人之上?。恭喜恭喜。”

Paediatrics

Now back in the children’s hospital. Loving it most days as the little children are so cute and beautiful. Even with the crying, screaming and protesting, all is forgiven when they are asleep and adorable like little angels. All is forgiven when you can have little cuddles with them in the recovery room. Children are so innocent and beautiful.

Also, who does not love to go to a workplace where there are colourful murals on the walls? Who does not enjoy blowing and popping bubbles as part of the job plan? Who complains about being able to play with toys whilst waiting for their “clients” to arrive?

The children’s hospital has been a really good place to work in… not just because of the children and the toys, but also because of the staff. In my opinion, you have to have a soft and gentle side to be able to work with children. And so paediatric surgeons are really some of the nicest surgeons I have ever worked with. Of course, some of them can still be arrogant and difficult… but compared to the egos and rudeness I have witnessed in adult tertiary centres, they are really quite mild. I love that in this hospital, people value me as part of their teams. I get addressed by surgeons, TCAs, ODPs and scrub nurses by my first name! This is something that does not often happen because people do not usually make an effort to remember the name of a passing anaesthetic registrar, and especially not if you have a name as uncommon as mine!

Nevertheless, I say goodbye to theatres for 6 weeks as I go and join the PICU/transfer team for a bit. I am admittedly very nervous about this as the pathologies in paediatric ICU are very different from that in adult units. The complex cardiac patients terrify me the most as I do not even know how blood is flowing within their congenitally abnormal hearts! Also, I am still unfamiliar with considering infusions in terms of mcg/kg/min… something that we never do in adult practice where everything is usually a standard mixture and adjusted in ml/hr! There is much to see and learn in the coming month and a half. I just want to pray to the Lord for good teaching and learning, and much safety as I go into an environment that I am completely unfamiliar with and uncomfortable in.

Church

A very powerful sermon from Mark 15: 1-15, 25-39. I am completely shaken by this.

You can be the crowd. Jesus is a very compelling figure. People have all sorts of objections to Christianity, yet when it comes to the actual person of Jesus, all sorts of people who hate the church still think that he is the best example of humanity that we have. He has unlimited power, and he uses this to help people– Everytime he does something terribly powerful and scary, we see him next caring for someone, talking to someone, healing someone, forgiving someone. Yet, He is uncompromising in his claims– that everyone who has ever lived should respect his authority, that we have to be fully accountable to Him. He says that we will do nothing more important than deal personally with him. As a result, many feel that “He is awkward for me” and “I do not like him making these claims– I need to get rid of him.”

What crime has he committed? They could not name the crime. Yet they shouted all the louder “crucify him!”


You can’t be Jesus. Barabbas was supposed to be the one crucified. It should have been him- the normal guy, the everyday criminal. However, Jesus died in his place instead. Yet, it was not a straight swap of one peasant for another. Jesus was different. 3 hrs of darkness at noontime on the day of his death– something not normal, and which is a sign of God’s anger. As Jesus hung on the cross, he cried “my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”– a cry of religious heartbreak not likely to be heard from hardened criminals. On the other side of the city, a large thick curtain rips from top to bottom the moment Jesus dies. THERE IS SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT ABOUT JESUS. The death He died, only He could die. Jesus has terrifyingly limitless power and authority– heck, he controls evil with just His words! Yet, this king over everything chooses death– the one who committed no crime took the anger and separation from God in our place. “He saved others, but he cannot save himself?” What nonsense. He did not save himself, so that he can save others. And so at that moment, the curtain is ripped– from top to bottom, as if God has reached down, so that all the warning signs that remind us of our uncleanness has been ripped down by Him.


You can be Barabbas. The son of God died for you Barabbas! He took your place. Was Barabbas relieved? Was he thankful? How did he respond/ soul search? Did he live a better life afterwards? We do not know anything else about Barabbas. It was unimportant how bad Barabbas had been. It was unimportant if he went on to do something great. The only important thing about him was that Jesus died for him. And there is just one word to describe him: Released.

For the non-believer: Do you feel held back thinking that you can never be good enough to be a Christian? Do you think “I am too different and too distant?” Remember that Jesus never said “earn this.” Jesus’ offer to Barabbas is the same offer to you. “Release.” YOU CAN BE BARABBAS.  Having witnessed how horrible a price it is to pay for your sins, do you really want to insist on paying for your own uncleanness? Do you really want to say “Put me back in the cell and punish me please?” YOU CAN BE BARABBAS, so why would you not be? Let Jesus pay for you. The curtain is ripped. You can walk in and begin a life of knowing God and being made clean.

For the Christian: do you judge your friends? Do you think that some people are beyond salvation? Do you doubt that you can invite ANYBODY into this relationship? Even when you have witnessed that the first person to believe is the centurion who hammered the very nails into Jesus? Jesus died to rip the curtain in two. Please stop sewing the curtain back up. Stop holding back Jesus’ offer to people who do not fit the “profile.”

Put on the armour of God

(By M. Waldock, @CCL)

Ephesians 6: 10-24

1. Beware. The enemy we face is brutal

Christian, you are being hunted. By Satan, who exists in our world opposing God. And though he cannot win, he can cause a lot damage. He is an enemy prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. He schemes to undermine your confidence that the promises of the gospel are true, or that they apply to you. When you are frustrated at God for a recurring health problem, or dissatisfied with God’s plan for your life when a relationship breaks down, the devil schemes to lead you into believing the lie that God does not care about you, and that you are no longer His beloved child. He seeks to damage the faith of God’s children.

Satan is the father of lies. Be cautious of his lies during periods of spiritual dryness.

When your emotions do not catch up to what your head knows, or when you are feeling completely disengaged from church life, and you hear a whisper in your ears that “you can’t possibly be a Christian if you feel like this,” remember the helmet of Salvation. Your place in heaven is guaranteed by Christ’s death and resurrection regardless of what you feel. It has never been dependent on you in the first place.

When you find yourself falling into the same sin time and time again, and you hear a voice saying “if you are a Christian, you would have fixed it by now,” remember the breastplate of righteousness. When God sees you, he sees the righteousness of Christ. Your spiritual debts have all been paid, and your spiritual account has been indefinitely credited by Christ’s righteousness and perfection. There is no horror that you can do that can exhaust God’s amazing grace! Let the guilt of sin bring you back to Christ, but don’t let it destroy your faith in Him. Stand firm against satan’s lies.

2. Be confident. God’s armour is sufficient

To frightened and overwhelmed Christians, know that there is a huge difference between how ill-equipped you feel and the invisible spiritual reality of how truly protected you are. Know that when Satan sees you and what you have been given, he is intimidated by you. God has given us an armour. Not just any spiritual armour, but His own– one that God Himself has worn in the toughest battle that has ever been. Put it on.

Before Jesus died, in the garden of Gethsamane, when he prayed “any other way but this,” and sweated drops of blood- notice that the belt of truth could not be removed and the shield of faith could not be crushed. When Jesus was hanging on the cross with the crown of thorns pressed onto his head, remember that the helmet of salvation would not be budged. The certainty that this would all be worth it could not be diminished. Even the shoes of gospel readiness could not be slowed when pierced with a nail as Jesus said to the thief beside him “today you will be with me in paradise.”As they stripped Jesus naked and struck him with a spear in his side, know that the breastplate of righteousness was unscratched even with the sin of the entire world laid upon him. Even at His death, the sharpness of the sword of the Spirit could still cut a soldier through to the core as he realised “surely this is the Son of God”

The armour you are wearing has been tested and it works.

The promise of the armour is not that you will not be hurt. Instead, it guarantees that the promises of the gospel will not be snatched from you. Your power to impact this world and city for Christ will not be taken from you.

If you are in Christ, you are more than equipped for the fight ahead.

Christian soldier, go forth and fight the good fight of faith.

Soldier