In memory of my mum, Ada Law

Thanks Lord, for a wonderful mum!No man is poor who has had a godly mother. -Abraham Lincoln

Gathered around hospital bed

One year ago, mum went home to be with the Lord on the morning of 28th October 2008 (Tuesday) at the Salvation Army Peacehaven nursing home. Mum suffered a massive stroke the previous Sunday, and the doctors told us that at age 85 she could not survive an operation, and that she did not have much time left. They were right. We were ready as a family to see her go, and together with our sister who flew in from Germany, and the grandchildren, we gathered around the hospital bed and one by one expressed our goodbyes with words, tears, gestures and prayer . We now thank the Lord that she slipped into glory peacefully and with dignity.

Well-kept home

Mum was an organized woman. She kept O Lord by your grace its possible to raise 4 boys!the home very well. She knew where to find every kitchen utensil and the home always looked neat and clean. The linoleumed floors were handwashed and  the windows were cleaned regularly.

She also enlisted everybody at home to do all the household chores and I guess with five kids, four of them boys, she needed management skills to survive. There was a regimen at home and we had homework time and play time that had to be adhered to. The This daughter and son will serve Me! says the Lordcarrot and stick worked well to maintain discipline at home.

Whipped up fantastic dishes

The kitchen was full of savory scents that made us salivate. We looked forward to mealtimes as she cooked and whipped up fantastic curries, ngoh hiong, chili crab, roasted meats and chicken stew to name a few. Her signature pineapple tarts and butter cake were popular fare among relatives and neighbours as well. As children we delighted in her homemade kaya, coconut candies, tapioca kueh and jelly desserts. All these she managed on a tight budget.

Home-based industry

She was a fine seamstress and used to tailor-make dresses for clients. This was a supplementary source of income for the family. She held dressmaking classes in her home for some rich tai tais of the Shaw family. Besides seeing her over the stove, an not uncommon sight is of her with a measuring tape over her neck, bending over a cloth with a scissors. Later on her skills were put to great use at St Andrew’s Cathedral where she embroidered and maintained the various stoles and linens used to dress the sancutary for the various Christian seasons. That was her ministry with the Thursdayladies fellowship.

I remember how she even made curry powder and sold them in packets. She didn’t make much from this but she took pride in it and was meticulous about the quality and cleanliness of the spices and ingredients. On occasion, I grudgingly helped her carry big packs of dried chili to the Indian grinders and mixers.

She was thrifty and saved and maximized whatever she had. We always had enough for the basics, including tuition for Maths and Mandarin(which did me no good). Her life was generously poured out in the endless sacrifices she made for her children, even after we got married.

Silk and steel

Mum had a pleasant disposition. She was characterized by quiet and calm, patience, and longsuffering. However, she disciplined us with firmness tempered with flexibility, giving us space as we grew into teenagers. Her love could be too tough to the point of frustration. I wince with embarassment when I recall how she once went to the community centre basketball court and in front of my friends, called me home for I was skipping dinner to play ball.

Lord thanks for my parents. Without them where would I be?

An Anglican piety

Her dad was an Anglican and she married my father, Andrew Chee, in St Andrew’s Cathedral but they were not churchgoers though they allowed the children to attend the then Bukit Timah Evangelical Free Church Sunday School when we were young.

When the marriage hit turbulence, she experienced a turn of piety and used to go to Novena on Saturdays to pray. Besides recourse to prayer she had wonderful relatives from both hers and fathers side who generously gave her support and practical help, and this helped her to persevere. Later, she joined the St Andrew’s Cathedral ladies fellowhip, which met on Thursdays, and this was the period where I was pleased to see her faith in Christ renewed and deepened with Bible studies, ministry and the warm fellowship there.

Triumph of faith over dementia

She was also a regular in the St Andrew’s early morning services and even after the onset of dementia, she still went to church regularly under the watchful eyes of Amy the domestic helper, and Lily her sister.

Even when she couldn’t recognize us she would still say, “God bless you”, or remember songs like “Jesus loves me this I know”. Even after the geriartician said her memory has gone zero, her helper Amy saw her woke up in the middle of the night and prayed the whole “Lord’s Prayer” and on another night witnessed her looking out the window and praised God, “I love you, Jesus, I love you Jesus.

Her faith in Christ, and her temperament made her Alzeimer dementia a sweet one. She would often brush her hands on our cheeks and greet us and strangers with a “You are so pretty”. With this kind of temperament, the great caregivers at Peacehaven’s Flamingo found it pleasant to care for her.

Lord, may the seed of the godly receive your blessing

Left behind

Mum left behind four sons, Colin, Julian, Victor, and myself; three daughters in law, Linda, Ai Lee, and Jenny my wife; and one daughter, Beryll (Joyce). And seven grandchildren: Olivia and Keith; Noah and Nathan; Joshua, Matthew and Elaine; all of whom were cared for by her during the early months of their life.

How do I feel now after a year? Less in pain than when her condition was deteriorating rapidly a few years ago. Maybe the grief from her death has been deeply repressed. Memories of her remain strong though. I am grateful for the legacy she left us.

I rejoice knowing of the hope of resurrection we have in the Christian faith. I will see her again face to face.

Her children rise up and call her blessed. – Proverbs 31:28 (RSV)

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Evangelical discomfort with prosperity

Keep the change, son.
"Keep the change, son".

Evangelical Christians are okay with God’s spiritual blessings but are ill at ease with material blessing from God.

One reason is an over-reaction to the excesses of the “prosperity gospel”.  We look with disdain on some American television evangelists who raise millions from naive believers by twisting Scriptures to say what they do not say, to support grandiose projects, and flaunt a lavish lifestyle that Solomon would envy.

The PEST test

An easy way to check for “prosperity doctrine” quotient is to do a PEST test that I have developed:

P –  Presumption is “an assumption, often not fully established, that is taken for granted in some piece of reasoning.” “Prosperity doctrine” is built on assumptions that are not fully borne out by the whole counsel of God, and their tenets are flawed by tenuous interpretation of scripture passages.

E – Eternity: “Prosperity doctrine” have no regard for what is eternal, accusing others of “pie in the sky” irrelevancy.  Jesus told us not to accumulate wealth on earth but to lay our treasures in heaven. He had a high regard with living on earth with a view to eternity. Hold to our material wealth lightly and be contented and free from greed and hoarding.

S – Stewardship: “Prosperity doctrine” does not emphasize God’s ownership of all things and how discipleship entails the faithful and wise management of God’s resources and places all our resources at God’s disposal. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and Money(Matthew 6:24).” This practically means the wealthy Christian should use his wealth to honor God, and care for the poor and needy, this good old earth and world missions.

T – Thanksgiving: “Prosperity doctrine” does not cultivate humility and gratitude and generosity. It has tendencies toward materialism, and unchecked consumption and pride. “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” (Proverbs 30:8,9)

So we rightly say no to “prosperity doctrine” but sadly are hesitant to preach about God’s desire to bless us so that we can bless others. We do not want to be associated with “prosperity doctrine” and so we stay in the safety of the boat and do not risk teaching rightly what the Word says about God’s fatherly desire to bless his children.

God wants to bless

I preach that God wants to bless his children. He blessed Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and many may have missed this scripture: “When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.”( Luke 24:39). It seems to me that every significant new beginning, was launched with the blessing of God, unmerited and free, and that blessing included material benefits as well as spiritual. He wants us to “put our hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”(1 Timothy 6:17).

In the Old Testament, as in Abraham’s case, the blessing of God covered his family, finances, protection, guidance and did not exclude the spiritual for by faith righteousness was credited to his account, and he sought a city not made by hands. The promises of blessing to those who fully obey in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 would easily have had Abraham as an example of fulfillment.

Evangelical dis-ease must be cured

Evangelical Christians think that the New Testament blessings emphasizes spiritual blessings but not to the exclusion of the temporal and material.  I rejoice and thank God for all the spiritual blessings secured for us through Christ’s death and resurrection. However, the reluctance and neglect of preaching about how God loves to bless us with “daily bread”, a temporal and material blessing embedded in the Lord’s prayer itself, does a disservice to the church. Our heavenly Father is mistakenly regarded as one reluctant to bless us with material resources as well as spiritual. Paul declared boldly that God wants “to make all grace abound toward you so that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work”(2 Corinthians 9:8).

This evangelical dis-ease must be cured.

Let’s not junk the good with the part that’s spoiled.

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Hacked blogpastor posts in thumbdrive

archivesMemories in a thumbdrive.

I took it from Vee San, my website designer, and thanked her profusely. At least the files of all my archived posts were intact. Some were precious because they were the fruit of research and risk. Others were sentimental in value. Not only were all the files intact, but they looked and ran exactly like the old blog . Vee did well. It looked so boomz!

Strangely the Great Hack did not upset or worry me. Knowing the files were intact was a relief. I had taken a long break from blogging and so it did not matter that the website was knocked out of service. Yes I felt like a poor host. It probably irritated visitors who clicked the search list and got an error statement instead of a blogpastor post. It also damaged the readership. But it couldn’t be helped.

I am just happy today that I have my archived “memories” back. I want to edit and reintroduce into this new blog some of the significant and meaningful archived posts and pages. Improving the impact of the old stuff will also make me more conscious of the secret of writing: rewriting!

I trust the revised posts will bless visitors of my blog.

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