Costly Affair for Chinese New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year is here again. Chinese all over the world are celebrating this occasion. Prior to the very day of the new year, reunion dinner is a tradition to be observed where family members gather to have a great meal and a good time enjoying one another’s company. This tradition has been passed down through generations and is still being kept by Chinese everywhere.

This is an important event especially for Chinese in China where they work in cities far away from home and they only get to go home once a year to be with their family. This home coming puts China’s transport infrastructure into great strain with the legendary exodus of hundreds of millions of Chinese returning to their home town. Sometimes, the high way would look like an open air carpark during horrible traffic jams due to traffic accidents or inclement weather conditions.

Nevertheless, reunion dinner is a gathering Chinese will not want to miss longing to see their parents and siblings after months of separation due to work or business or even schooling. However, for Chinese living in small cities where there are constant interaction and regular meals together with family members, this reunion dinner, though a Chinese tradition, has lost some of its meanings. It becomes a chore and a burden for those living in fast pace city lives, hardly have the time to cook at home, let alone prepare dinner for big family gathering.

Besides reunion dinner, preparation for Chinese New Year cost a lot of money. Chinese will want to buy new clothes, new shoes, new bags and if possible even a new car. This is in addition to food and snacks to be purchased to entertain relatives during visits and of course decking up the home after an exhaustive spring cleaning and all these add to the cost of the celebration. Another very costly aspect of the celebration is giving out red packets with cash inserted inside to be given to children once they are married.

So this is the time of the year small kids are taught about receiving red packets containing cash inside. This is supposedly to make them happy with blessings but in reality teaches them covetousness, a time of exploitation and extortion. They would some day grow up having to be givers so might just as well collect as much while they are still eligible, especially to help parents recoup the cash they have to give out to other people’s kids.

Hence, it is so common to hear Chinese bellyaching about having to find money to go through Chinese New Year. On the social media, one guy was complaining about having given his dad who is retired several hundred dollars for red packets to be given out during Chinese New Year, his dad spent them all in a week. Another woman was complaining about the restaurant she works at promised to give employees bonus but failed to materialized in the very last minute. She was given an advance half a month salary a week ago and she had already spent them all on stuff for the new year. She was lamenting where she might find money for expenses for the next few weeks having to pay school fees for children and transportation expenses at the very last moment just before Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year indeed comes with terrible burdens. Some people have been retrenched recently. How are they going to face their family members and relatives during this festive season? There is no end to trouble for those who are in financial difficulty. The article here summarizes services available to make Chinese New Year less stressful for busy city folks.

Four Services Available to Make Chinese New Year Less Stressful

Of course if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, Chinese New Year offers great business opportunity too. The Rent-A-Girlfriend Apps becomes an instant sensation because during Chinese New Year gatherings, instead of genuinely concern about each others welfare, it usually turns into a show-off convention with busy bodies asking personal questions causing embarrassment to some young people.

Girlfriend Rental App

Besides questions about marriage prospects, relatives also take the opportunity to compare occupations, wealth, children’s academic performance and many other vanities in this life. Unless you have money, Chinese New Year is not fun at all. Chinese New Year is all about wealth and getting more wealth.

As Christians, we see through all these vanities of life what the scriptures warn as worldliness and worldly lust. The Psalmists aptly exclaimed:

Psalms 39:5: Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Psalms 39:6: Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Nevertheless, many Chinese Christians still celebrate Chinese New Year. Some no doubt have to suffer the burdens associated with all the encumbrances during this festive season if they are unable to disengage themselves from pesky relatives and all other vain and superstitious practice.

Actually, as Christians, we cannot blame the Chinese for going after all the material things in this life because they don’t know God and don’t have God’s promise to provide for them and take care of them.

Matthew 6:28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Matthew 6:29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew 6:30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Matthew 6:31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Matthew 6:32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So Christians should not condemn or despise the Chinese for all this pursuit of wealth to impress relatives that they don’t like with the money that they have during this time. We should pity them for the burden they have to go through during this time. Some would no doubt end up with substantial debts to clear once the celebration is over. Of course there is nothing wrong wishing everyone well during Chinese New Year, especially wishing peace and blessings from the Lord.

As Christians, whatever calendar we observe, it is another year closer to the Lord’s glorious coming for us. It is a time to give thanks for God’s goodness for the past years and the rich blessings the Lord bestows upon us that we least deserve. May all Chinese Christian the world over rejoice in the Lord during this Chinese New Year.

Wishing all Chinese brethren God’s peace and blessings from above during this festive season.


Helping The Poor

Matthew 26:6: Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
Matthew 26:7: There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
Matthew 26:8: But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
Matthew 26:9: For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
Matthew 26:10: When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
Matthew 26:11: For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

The passage here concerns a woman doing something good to the Lord that seems to be excesses to His disciples. The disciples were indignant. They deemed the gift was too costly and it was a terrible waste of resources. The gift bestowed upon the Lord was unjustifiable and could have helped the poor instead.

To add insult to injury, the Lord not only told them to let this matter pass, He added that they had the poor with them always but they won’t have the Lord with them always. This would be something politically incorrect to say and will not endear one to the masses.

If the Lord Jesus Christ is not the Creator of the universe who deserves the utmost adoration and offerings from His subjects, then He must be a charlatan indeed. But the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Lord of glory where unfortunately His disciples being so familiar with Him failed to recognize. This was utmost disrespect and severe underestimation of the worth of the Lord.

Helping the poor is always a good platform to propel one into the forefront of politicking and eventual ascendency unto power. Once at the apex of power, helping the poor no longer becomes a top agenda but only a sideshow with some appeasement for the downtrodden masses from time to time in order to remain in power. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon didn’t heed the advisors from his late father’s cabinet to ease the burdens of his subjects and this led to his downfall losing ten out of the twelve tribes that split the nation of Israel.

The Lord’s definitive statement about the perpetual existence of the poor is a biblical and historical fact. Ever since the fall of Adam, the earth is cursed and man has to toil for a living and some will certainly fall under unfortunate circumstances. What the Lord said about the poor has also being told to the children of Israel by Moses. Had they learned about the Bible and not lightly esteemed the Lord, they would not be offended with this woman’s act of charity.

Deuteronomy 15:11: For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

It is not the Lord does not care about the poor, for the Lord has enacted laws for the nation of Israel how they should care for the poor in their midst. The self-help initiatives need not be run by large organizations under the auspices of the State where bureaucracy would eat up a sizeable portion of the donation for the poor. As individuals they were required to care for their downtrodden brethren among them.

Leviticus 19:10: And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22: And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 24:19: When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.

In addition, the seventh year is a year of rest where the poor could enjoy the fruits of the fields where the land is not to be harvested to increase the coffer of the well to do citizens of the nation.

Exodus 23:11: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.

Besides all those measures to help the poor during those years of hardship, the Lord also puts in place a policy to reset the economy of the nation every fifty years. Those who lost their lands could return to their possessions and those who became servants due to hardship were required to be set free. This will ensure the poor will not remain poor forever while the rich becomes richer all the time.

Leviticus 25:10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
Leviticus 25:11: A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
Leviticus 25:12: For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
Leviticus 25:13: In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

The Lord does understand the plight of His people and thus instituted laws to ensure equitable distribution of wealth among His chosen people. If only nations in the world take a leaf of out the economic principles given to the children of Israel, this world would be a much better place.

But greed however, would not allow nations to adopt such economic blueprint. Even the children of Israel failed to keep this economic master plan and together with many heinous provocations against the Lord, they were eventually destroyed and carried away to Babylon to let the land rest and the poor enjoy the fruits of the land.

Leviticus 26:31: And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
Leviticus 26:32: And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
Leviticus 26:33: And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Leviticus 26:34: Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
Leviticus 26:35: As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

So while the Lord Jesus Christ may seem callous to remark that the poor would be here to stay and while He clearly deserved the best, the Lord’s care for the poor cannot go unnoticed. Those who care for the poor will certainly be blessed.

Psalms 41:1: Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Psalms:112:9: He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

The same promise is also given to the New Testament Christians.

2 Corinthians 9:9: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

The Christian Church is commanded to remember the poor, especially to the household of faith. They are exhorted to be active in charity work.

Galatians 2:10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

Galatians 6:10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Romans 15:26: For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

In fact, the poor are in a privileged position as far as the reception of the gospel of Christ is concerned.

Mark 10:23: And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

James 2:5: Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

Hence, Christians are admonished to be involved in good works, especially in the area concerning helping the poor.

1 Timothy 6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
1 Timothy 6:18: That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
1 Timothy 6:19: Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Titus 3:8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:14: And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Charity work should come naturally for a Christian. However, Christians must be careful not to think that participating with some charity organizations to perform charity work is inline with biblical exhortation. Some organizations could be a front where subversive elements could be present to undermine the government of the day.

The gospel of John also presented the same case concerning the act of this woman. Insidious agenda of one crafty character championing for the plight of the poor is revealed.

John 12:3: Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
John 12:4: Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
John 12:5: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
John 12:6: This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
John 12:7: Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
John 12:8: For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Judas Iscariot who outwardly seemed to be very concerned about the poor turned out to be a thief and a traitor as well. He knew how to be politically correct and endear himself with the people. He knew how to position himself and to exact maximum effect for his agenda. Moreover, he was in charged of finance for the organization he was affiliated with. He was saying all the right thing as a front but he had some ulterior motives.

Very often, those shout the loudest about helping the poor might turn out to be thieves. The abuse and excesses of top management of some charity organizations are quite astounding. Sometimes only a small portion of the donations is trickled down to those really in need because the bureaucracy has already eaten up much of the funds meant for the poor.

Non-profit organizations can be very profitable for certain people. It is quite easy to tug at the heartstrings of people to help the poor in order to lighten their purses, especially for those who believe that such good work will earn them merits on judgment day and accord them salvation and an entrance into the pearly gates having rejected the free gift of eternal life from the Lord.

Should Christians wish to be involved in charity organizations, they should do it in their personal capacity and not as Christians, lest they found to be fools when the organization they are serving in turned out to be fraudulent. It would be worse if such organizations have been infiltrated by characters with subversive agenda to cause trouble for the State.

Helping the poor is a biblical commandment for Christians. The left wing liberals are hijacking this biblical commandment for their own agenda to pressure the State and cause trouble to those in authority. Look at the refugee crisis in Europe where nations descend into chaos in the name of helping the poor and their citizens suffer as a result. Let no Bible believing Christians join hand with such organizations and be found to be at ought with the State where Christians become a political threat and a force to be reckoned with in the political arena. This is not what the biblical commandment for helping the poor is meant.

Titus 3:1: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

It is much better for Christians to be obedient to the words of the living God to be charitable helping those in need quietly in simplicity. This will ensure all his sacrifice would go directly to the needy and not to some middle man trying to facilitate the charity work.

James 1:27: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Let your good work be done in simplicity away from the limelight of the world. Your charity will not go unnoticed in the highest court in heaven.

Psalms 112:9: He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

Psalms 140:12: I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

Psalms 9:18: For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.


An Atheist’s View on Pursuit of Happiness

Sorrows and pains are often part and parcel for many people living in this fallen sin cursed world. People respond differently to adversity.

Some take trials and tribulations in their stride and emerge stronger while others collapse and end in tragedy.

The recent death of a young man at his training camp who was depressed due to troubles in the family is a reminder of the frailty in this life.

NS Recruit Dies Three Days After Enlistment

While we observed such tragedies and adversities people face in their daily lives, the observation made by Dr. Lee Wei Ling is noteworthy.

She observed her colleagues having come to terms with their mentally challenged child and how their faith in the Christian God helped them overcome adversity in lives.

She remarked how as an atheist she might cope with misfortunes and her emotional response would depend on how she views her situation. She talked about being stoic philosophically might help overcome adversity in life.

She then questioned whether it was wise to consider the American’s ideal of pursuit of happiness as an inalienable right. As an Adj Professor and Senior Advisor to the National Neuroscience Institute, she must have seen countless cases of misfortunes in humanity. Hence she commented that sometimes it was not easy to be happy.

She is right!

Job 5:7: Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Job 14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

She saw many truths in this life and there was no answer to the many problems man has to face. She also realized that wealth on its own won’t bring happiness and as such, she won’t use Chinese New Year greetings “Gong Xi Fa Cai” because she understood this meant to wish that person to gain great wealth. She commented that accumulating wealth is an endless pursuit in self-gratification with no meaningful purpose in life.

She is spot on again!

Psalms 62:10: Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

Proverb 23:5: Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Proverb 27:24: For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

Below are her closing thoughts.

Happiness, in whatever form one sees it, becomes more elusive the harder one tries to pursue it. That’s why my personal aim is much more realistic: All I ask for is calmness and contentment. These at least are partially within my control.

I don’t believe pursuing happiness is an effective way to achieve happiness. By behaving well, and by helping our fellow humans negotiate the obstacles that are part of life are more effective ways to become happy. Doing so will make the people around us happy as well. There is nothing profound in this, but sometimes simple solutions can achieve what complex thought cannot.

She is right on the money again!

Proverb 11:25: The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

1 Timothy 6:6: But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Sometimes, an atheist talks more sense than any superficial Christian on the street.

Isn’t it ironical that sometimes, atheist could be practising Christian in philosophy and outlook in life while Christians could be practising atheist in their manner of life?

What Dr. Lee probably wasn’t aware of is that her philosophy with regard to overcoming adversity has a biblical basis.

The Bible warns against the madness in meaningless pursuit of wealth.

Ecclesiastes 5:10: He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Luke 12:15: And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

The Bible commands Christians to practise self-denial.

1 Timothy 6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

The Bible exhorts Christians to be content.

Philippians 4:11: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8: And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The Bible teaches Christians to live by faith and trust in the Lord.

Romans 12:12: Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Philippians 4:19: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Proverb 16:20: He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

So now you might wonder why some Christians are always unhappy! They fail to heed scriptural admonition.

John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Proverb 3:13: Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Proverb 14:21: He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Hence, the pursuit of happiness seen through the lens of this atheist is more insightful than average Christians who seldom read the scriptures and apply scriptural truths in their lives

Here is the article More to Life than the Pursuit of Happiness

My desire for Dr. Lee is to come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ who alone can give her true inner peace.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)