Monday, February 25, 2008

Walking Down the City Streets

He walked down the city streets. Alone. Unaccompanied. On his own.

It was a cold, windy day. A day he would prefer to be inside his apartment. It was much warmer there. His comfortable bed would greet him. He could relish at the relief from the seemingly hostile world. A welcoming thought.

But he felt like walking outside today. Out in the cold city streets.

Loneliness. Such a bitter feeling.

Out in this utterly foreign land, he was lost. Isolated. Rejected. Abandoned.

Looking down to the pathway, he continued on his aimless walk. The chilling wind was beating against his body. He was shivering all over.

Stopping abruptly on the pathway, he lifted his head and looked ahead. An endless sea of hopelessness and despair.

Absolutely meaningless.

A minute of stillness elapsed. He decided to move on. Down the seemingly never-ending road of desolation and dismay.

Ten minutes passed and he reach a park. An unanticipated place of refuge. An unforeseen shelter. He sat down on a bench and pondered.

He missed the security of home. He missed the tenderness and attention from everyone back there. He missed the solace that he found there in times of grief.

All the relief and reassurance seemed to have dissolved away upon his arrival in this unfamiliar land, this distant realm, this faraway country.

He lowered his head, closed his eyes and cupped his face with the palms of his hands.

He began to sob now, lamenting the decision to move to this forsaken place.

He cried out, "O Lord, where are you, Lord! I need you so badly right now."

No answer came.

Disappointed, he tried again. "Lord please, help me get through this."

Still, there was no reply.

God has left him, he decided. It was totally hopeless now. He resigned to his fate.

Just as he was about to get up and leave, he thought he could hear the faintest whisper in the wind. An undertone echoing in the tender summer breeze.

The voice touched his heart and stirred his spirit. He felt a great peace enveloping him. A great joy suffusing his entire self. An inexplicable feeling of being loved.

He knew at that brief moment in time that God was touching him, gently consoling him and reassuring him. A song played in his mind, over and over again as he tried to grasp the fullness of the beautiful lyrics.

I'll sing to you Lord a hymn of love
for your faithfulness to me
I'm carried in everlasting arms
You never let me go
Through it all

As the thought of the loving Father filled him, he was overwhelmed by emotions. He could no longer hold back his tears of joy. He wept, praising God, thanking Him for His faithfulness, expressing gratitude for His everlasting presence with him, encouraging him, strengthening him, guiding him all this while.

The darkness that obscured his vision had been dispersed by the Light. The chaos that ravaged his heart was calmed by the gift of Peace. The bitterness that gripped him had been forced apart by the power of Love. The sorrow that filled him was replaced by unexplained feelings of Joy.

He opened his eyes and looked around him. The veil of gloom and despair has lifted. He saw everything with clarity and everything seemed so...different now. His surroundings were no longer fogged by uncertainty. Brilliant streaks of hope-filled light shot through the sky. Exuberance radiated from everything that was around him - the trees, the grass, the people, the buildings, the streets.

He felt encouraged and uplifted. He felt his spirit soar on wings like the eagle. He felt completely renewed.

Now, he had the strength and the assurance to face the perilous road ahead. Strength and assurance that came from the grace of God, and not anything or anyone else.

He sang songs of praises to the Lord all day long and danced with joy that no one else could understand, except the Lord and himself...

Forget what is behind and press on toward what is ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

Praising the Lord,

Brian Chee

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Curtain Falls...

The curtain falls...

The symphony comes to an end...

The tears of the performers are drowned by the cheers of the audience...

Tears of the emotional ending are mixed with cheers of sheer delight...

The atmosphere gradually dampens as the excitement of the crowd subsides...

A sudden moment of eerie silence lingers...

When abruptly, the sounds of musical instruments start to fill the hall again...

The delightful tunes reverberate through the auditorium...

A new orchestra of performers and maestros take their place on the stage...

A new symphony has begun...


Farewell Malaysia. I'll be seeing you again soon...

Hello, Melbourne. Here I come...into your welcoming embrace...

Brian Chee

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Touch from God

A touch from God is like a small portion of heaven on Earth.

A touch from God is an experience unlike any other earthly experience.

A touch from God fills us with joy so overwhelming that it cannot be expressed in words.

A touch from God gives us the assurance that God is close to us in times of grief and in times of joy.

A touch from God gives us strength and hope to face tomorrow.


It's an awesome experience to feel the Holy Spirit's loving embrace. It fills you with tremendous peace and joy that cannot be expressed in words.

Close your eyes...


Standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the most beautiful valley you can imagine.

A heavenly breeze beats against your face and you splay your arms to just allow yourself to feel the calmness of the breeze.

You cry out, "Forgive me, Lord. For the times I've committed wrong in your eyes. For the times I've failed to obey you in my weakness. For the times when my best just doesn't seem good enough. For the times when I have not given my everything to you."

Forgive me...Lord...

You feel a pair of arms wrap around you.

You open your eyes to see the figure of a man, yet he was no ordinary man.

Radiance shone from him.

Dis face was barely visible, but you could tell that he was offering a comforting smile to you.

He whispers softly, "'s alright my child. My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect through weakness. Now be at rest, dear child."

You were speechless. You wanted to speak, but couldn't find the words to do so.

You feel the peace and joy flowing through you, those which did not come from any earthly experience.

You close your eyes again...

You well up with emotion, and barely being able to contain any longer, you burst into tears.

As tears roll down your cheeks, you cry out deep within you, "Praise you, Lord! Praise you..."

"Thank you, Lord...for being with me all this while...for showering me with your love...a love so great that I could never comprehend it."

"Who in this world has ever loved me so much that he or she is willing to die for me?"

You try to grasp the fullness of the love he has poured out to you, and you are overwhelmed by it.

Fresh tears stream down your face. Not tears of grief, but tears of joy. Tears of thankfulness for the sacrifice that has been given to us.

Amazing can it be...

That you my King would die for me...

Amazing love...I know it's true...

And it's my joy to worship you...

Feeling renewed, you open your eyes and smile...

You can face tomorrow His love and His grace...


I've had this experience once, as I was laying down on bed, thinking about my past failures, about things which I could've done but didn't do, about things that I shouldn't have done but did it anyway.

I was overwhelmed with grief. I felt useless, unwanted, a loner, a failure.

Then, I began thinking about God's amazing love for me. Because of Him, I can start my life anew. Because of Him, I no longer have to dwell on my past failures, but I can move on by His grace and mercy.

Tears streamed down my face. Suddenly, I felt a great peace enveloping me. I could feel unspeakable joy flowing suffusing me.

The unbearable burden has been lifted from my heart. I could face tomorrow again by His great love and grace...

Brian Chee

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gazing into the Future

Tick Tock Tick Tock...the clock is ticking...

He glanced at the clock. 2.11 p.m. He gasped. More than half a day has passed.

Pondering for a few moments, he turned his attention back to the laptop monitor that lay before him.

He paused. contemplating the things that needed to be done before his flight to KL the next morning.

It was hard to swallow the fact that 2 months of holidays have come to pass so quickly. Time and tide really does waits for no man, he thought.

Heaving a sigh, he browsed through his computer and an icon particularly caught his attention. It said "Age of Empires 2". Double-clicking it, he waited eagerly for the application to load. It was an educational game, he thought, for he could learn of the background behind some of the most famous battles ever fought in history and world-altering conquests engraved in time.

Surprisingly, though, as soon as the start-up menu appeared before his eyes, his desire to lead his virtual army vanished almost as quickly as it surfaced. Instead of clicking on the "Campaign" button, he instead went for "History". A list of articles appeared on the left hand side of his computer screen. Slowly, he clicked on one that was entitled "Medieval Age Warfare" and began to fill his bucket in the well of knowledge.

After reading several more articles, he decided that it was enough for the day. With the mouse in his hand, he rolled it across the table until he saw the pointed over the "Back" button. He clicked once and he was brought back to the Main Menu. Another click and he was back at the Windows Desktop.

Collecting his thoughts, he reflected on the numerous events that had transpired throughout the 2 month holidays. Though it was only a brief moment in history, they were riddled with bittersweet memories.

He recalled some of the most vivid memories that had collected in the chambers of his mind. Among them:

  1. The AUSMAT Grand Dinner
  2. His trip around West Malaysia
  3. His Christmas celebrations in Shah Alam
  4. The times he struggled with his university and accommodation matters
  5. His return to Shah Alam for his last CA and for JPA briefing
  6. His Chinese New Year celebrations with his Sandakan friends
  7. Attending a triple church service in Sandakan, each of different denominations and of different languages
The time has come to move on, he thought.

Recomposing himself, he started to make arrangements for his flight to KL. He would be taking the 10.35 a.m. flight to LCCT. Upon arrival he would take a cab to the Akasia bus stop, where he would be picked up by Pastor David. This practice was hardly an aberration for the pastor, as the pastor had fetched so many other students back to his house previously.

He would perhaps spend a few days at the pastor's house while waiting for his flight to Australia, which would be at 10.40 p.m., 19 February 2008. The flight would take him to Sydney, after which a Qantas flight would fly him the remainder of the trip to Melbourne.

His mind raced ahead to picture the lifestyle and living conditions in Melbourne.

Would he be able to cope with his studies?

Would he be able to make new friends easily?

Would he still be able to serve God as he did in INTEC?

He wished he had answers to those questions, but for now, he could only pray and hope for the best. He could only place his hopes on the Almighty, praying that He would guide him through all the hardships and peril that awaited him in the lands of Australia.

As the day drew closer and closer to an end, anxiety began to suffuse him. It was normal to have such feelings, he thought. Perhaps he was right.

Preparing to bid farewell to this stage of life, he looked up to Heaven, closed his eyes and muttered a prayer. Feeling slightly comforted, he focused his thoughts on the day before him and left his worries of the future for another day...

Brian Chee

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Mine Field of Hopes

"If we say in our hearts that we are of Christ, but outwardly deny Him before others then what becomes of faith?"

The words once spoken to me by a friend echoed deeply within the chasms of my mind. I tried frantically to recall the full conversation I had with that friend, but to no avail. Languishing in my prison cell, I awaited my inevitable execution by Dolorian troops.

"Why is this happening to me? I've been serving God faithfully in my ministry for the past 10 years. What wrong have I done?," I lamented.


It has been 2 years since the ascension of the Antichrist to the world theater, as foretold by the apostle John in the book of Revelations. He has made all nations bow to his rule, established by decades of global conspiracies by a secret organisation known as the Illuminati. Now, with almost unlimited political power, he has called for all Christians to either renounce their faith or be executed for treason.

Almost instantly after his declaration of Order 666, persecution of an unprecedented scale since the Roman persecutions of the early Christian church in the first three centuries of its conception swept the worldwide church. Entire congregations were sentenced to death as churches worldwide were razed to the ground. Severe sanctions were issued against those who held onto their hopes in Christ and refused to receive the "mark" of the world government. They were denied public services, mainly education, healthcare and transportation. People who held the "mark" were proscribed from dealing or offering assistance to them, an order which carries the death penalty should they refuse to obey.

It was God's call that brought me to this place called Dolor. Persecution here was one of the most severe that I have witnessed. The majority of Christians lived in extreme poverty, suffered from acute malnutrition and constantly dwelled in fear of being greeted by death at any moment. The local government has issued orders for the eradication of Christian "villages" or encampments. Numerous mass killings of Christians have been orchestrated by the armed forces loyal to the government, most often entire settlements were wiped out within minutes.

Three months ago, I took a jeep from neighbouring Voisin into Dolor with 4 other companions as a relief team sent by our church to the war-torn country (or should I say state, after the world was united under one world government). Our task was simple, to bring relief and aid to the local Christians. As we could not go through the main road for fear of being detained by government troops, we took a dirt road through the jungle. We arrived at the village of Consto, our checkpoint. We shall be trekking through the dense jungle from there onwards.

After 3 days of braving the wilderness of the seemingly hostile jungle with a local Christian as our guide, we entered the village of Sperro. The 50 km trek from Consto through the harsh terrain left us exhausted by we were relieved to be greeted by the cheerful smiles and laughter of the villagers. My team set out to work, delivering much needed aid to the people. I managed to have a conversation with the village priest.

Now well over his 70's, Father Moore sported a long white beard. Many deep wrinkles were strewn all over his face, a vivid indication of his well advanced age. Yet, his expression was coloured with excitement at our arrival. He spoke in a soft, yet coherent, voice. He reminded me a lot of the pastor of the church which I used to attend when I was much younger.

"Praise God, son that you came," began Father Moore. "Our supplies have almost been exhausted ever since the government impose sanctions against us. The military has recently stepped up its surveillance. Some of us who tried to obtain supplies from neighbouring villages have been arrested."

"What do you think will happen to them?" I enquired, anxious about their fate.

Father Moore looked at me dolorously. In a calm voice, he answered, "If they're lucky, they'll get a quick death. Otherwise, they'll probably be tortured ruthless until well...they expire."

Somehow, I've anticipated the answer. I've seen countless such events in the past 2 years and I'm no stranger to death and suffering.

"I see...," I acknowledged grimly.

"But don't you fret, son. God has them in His arms now. They're up there enjoying God's company. In a sense, death frees them from the sufferings of the world," he comforted me.

I couldn't agree more. I've seen much of the ugly side of the world and the cruelties man are capable of. It would certainly be a wonderful experience to be rejoicing in heaven with God. After all, that's the reason for the faith that we are professing, it is the hope that we are clinging so tightly to, it is the sole purpose that we were created in the first place! But still, the thought of dying troubled me deeply.

After a moment of silence, I raised my voice to pose a question. "Father...," I hesitated, "...what's it like to die? To have the life stripped from you in an instant?"

Looking surprisingly composed despite the frankness of my question, the priest pondered the question for a brief moment. He look intensely into my eyes, opened his mouth and spoke.

"To die without knowing where you're headed after death, to die thinking about the numerous things that you leave behind, to die not wanting to let go of this world, now that I think is scary and painful death. But to die knowing your eternal destiny, to willingly leave the things of this world behind for greater things in the world ahead, to die in the comforting arms of someone who dearly loves you, knowing that you will rejoice with him in that wonderful place, that's a peaceful and wonderful death."

He let his words hang in the air for a moment before continuing.

"Rest assured, son. We will all die in the comforting arms of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. There's no need to be afraid. He will be there for us and lead us to our eternal destinies, eternal fellowship with Him. Think about it - we are leaving behind the ugly things of the world for the beautiful things of heaven. Isn't that worth dying for?"

I contemplated his answer deeply.

True, I should be ready to lay down my life for the Lord. That's what the Lord called us to do.

True, by undertaking this mission, I know that I have accepted and am willing to bear whatever risks associated with it.

True, Death could be greeting me any moment now. But it'll only be for a moment. The Lord himself will snatch me from Death's grip and carry me in His loving arms to the wonderful place called Paradise.

"Yes, Father," the words left my mouth as I nodded in response to his reassuring words. "Thanks."

The priest smiled and as he patted my back, led me on a tour around the village.

"Here," he said upon passing by a house, "is the place of Madam Rosemary, our beloved nurse. She's been taking good care of the sick and wounded, since we're denied public healthcare." I saw that the house was bustling with activity. Calvin, one of my companions on this mission, was running around in the house, helping out Madam Rosemary, who seemed like a pretty caring lady.

I smiled as I saw that Calvin was enjoying his work. The priest and I continued our little tour.

Upon reaching the a structure that looked like a community hall, we stopped.

"Now this, son is the..."

Before he could finish his sentence, a blast threw us from the position we were standing. I was knocked back several meters. Blood was oozing from my forehead and my body was aching. I turned around and surveyed the area around me. To my horror, I saw Father Moore lying motionless on the ground covered in blood. I ran over and knelt beside the priest. I shook him, motioning for him to speak.

Weakly, he looked into my eyes and whispered something. It was barely audible so I had to draw my ears closer to him to be able to make out what he was saying. "The time has come...," he coughed, "for me to join the Lord in Paradise..."

His eyelids closed. His breathing stopped. He was no longer moving now.

At that moment, I was scared and distraught. I simply did not what to do. As I was still caught in bewilderment, another blast erupted. I turned around and saw the "community hall" partially blown apart. Several other subsequent explosions followed. I was gripped with terror at the moment and ran for my life.

The village was in chaos. People were running for their lives. The blasts continued. Some unfortunate people who were caught in a blast were either entirely blown to bits, lost their limbs or severely wounded.

"The military is coming!" one person screamed.

"They're shelling the village!" shouted another.

A sudden understanding of the source of the explosions came to me. The military was shelling the village with artillery barrages. This is just to weaken any possible resistance, I thought. The government troops would soon arrive to finish off the job! Ultimately, my greatest fears became a reality. Military jeeps rolled into the village. The soldiers jumped off hastily from the back of the jeep and poured into every corner of the village. Their mission was clear - to eradicate the entire village.

Everyone was panicking and trying to flee, but the military had already blocked all escape routes.

After a few moments, I saw a person who seemed to be in authority stepping down from the jeep. His eyes fiercely inspected the village. With scorn in his face, he shouted to the soldiers, "Kill them all!"

No sooner after he gave the order, gunshot rang out from all directions. Stray bullets bored through the bodies of the fleeing villagers and they crumpled to the ground. Some tried to avoid getting shot by laying low, but the soldiers showed no mercy, they too were brutally murdered. A soldier threw a hand grenade into a house, killing all the people who were hiding inside.

As the massacre continued, I continued running towards the jungle, staying as low as I could to avoid getting shot. Suddenly, my foot got entangled by some tree roots. I tripped and fell into a ditch. Seeing that I was safe, I stayed there paralyzed with fear and became a silent observer to the horrific spectacle that was unfolding before my eyes.

I could see women carrying their young ones attempting to escape from the village, but they were hunted down like games. I saw some men attempting to put up a fight, but they easily succumbed to the deadly armaments utilised by the soldiers. I could see people being blown to bits by exploding hand grenades, and people badly disfigured by the shrapnels. It was a horrible sight.

After what seemed like eternity, the rampage finally ceased. A chilling silence enveloped the area. I peered from my observation point. Bodies were strewn all over the place. Blood and bits of flesh were splattered all over the ground. Buildings were reduced to smoldering ruins. The village had been effectively been wiped out. The commander issued a command that was barely audible to me given a distance from him but whatever he said, the soldiers seemed to be on the move again. I saw some survivors being dragged to the jeep.

Abruptly, a shout echoed from behind me, "Hey you, get out of there!" I've been discovered! Startled by the unexpected appearance of the figure, I stood there petrified. Am I going to die?

"Hurry up before I shoot you!" the soldier barked again. Regaining my composure, I obeyed for fear of being killed by my captor. Climbing slowly out of the ditch, unpleasant thoughts of being tortured and brutally executed by the soldiers began to suffuse my mind. I was roughly hauled to the jeep along with the other survivors. To my relief, Calvin was one of them. My happiness, however, was short lived, when I discovered that the rest of my team members had been killed. As an aftermath of the slaughter, only 10 out of over 300 people present in the village survived.


Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked up to the prison walls. I was overwhelmed by emotion after recalling the ghastly events that brought me against my will to this putrid, cramped prison cell. I was caving in to the grief of losing so many loved ones in that single incident and not being able to save them.

Why, O Lord! Why?

I was alone in the prison cell, isolated from other captives since the day of my confinement. I knew that they were waging psychological warfare against us, attempting to drive us to the brink of insanity by depriving us of human contact, attempting to force us to a point where we are willing to renounce our faith to escape the seemingly perpetual mental torture. Whenever I would refuse to eat anything to starve myself to death, the soldiers would forcibly stuff me with food to keep me going. I brushed off suicide for fear of the eternal consequences that would lead to.

Tears streamed down my face now. I tried to hold them back but to no avail. My heart was filled with bitterness and anguish over the predicament that had befallen me. To put it briefly, I was on the verge of breaking down.

I mulled over the offer presented to me by the commander a week after I was thrown into this cell. If I simply declared that Christ is not Lord and saviour, I would be scot-free. He even told me that I could live the life of an ordinary citizen with the freedom to engage in ordinary daily activities, something that Christians were severely deprived of. For a moment, I brushed it off almost instantly. The situation now was clearly different. After three months of seclusion, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I could feel a part of me screaming out to me to just take the offer.

"If we say in our hearts that we are of Christ, but outwardly deny Him before others then what becomes of faith?"

The question flashed again in my mind. Instantly, I rebuked the other part of me that was compelling me to give in.

Heaving a long sigh, I lied down on the floor, my eyes gazing at the broken ceiling. Mustering all the strength left in me, I whispered a short prayer to the Lord.

Lord, please Lord! Give me strength. I'm on the verge of giving up now, Lord. Please Lord, don't abandon me. Give me the strength to endure, I ask of you.

I began to sob again.

Seeking for comfort, I closed my eyes and allowed my mind to wander. I travelled retrospectively through time, rummaging through the treasure chest of my mind, sifting through the precious memories which I've kept dearly for the past 10 years.

I paused as a vague reminiscence of the conversation that I was struggling to remember stirred. I began recollecting the fragments of the conversation that lay neglected in that treasure chest for so long. Slowly, the fragments pieced together to form a complete mosaic of the dialogue that took place almost 8 years ago.


We sat facing one another in a comfortable old "kopi tiam" restaurant. I was glad to be able to ask Erin out for a drink the night before I boarded the flight back to my hometown, Obsidis. She had been a great source of encouragement to me in the first few years of my life as a Christian. When I was down, she lifted me up. When I was doubtful of myself, she gave me confidence. When I was in sorrows, she gave me joy. Truly she a great sister in Christ and I often sought advice from her in times of need.

We had been talking on light topics for quite some time and I felt like posing a tougher issue to her. Taking a sip of coffee from the glass that lay before me, I began formulating the question in my mind. Then, shoving the glass aside, I asked her, "We all know that persecution will come someday when the Antichrist comes. Let's say if one day, someone pointed a gun at you and forced you to either renounce your faith in Christ, or to walk through a land covered with land mines, which would you choose?"

"Well, Brian. I would say that 'whoever chooses to keep his life loses it, but whoever lays down his life for Christ will gain it'. It's true that when it comes to the point of making the decision, it would be difficult as we would think of family, friends and so on, but still we must be firm in our stand for Christ," came the reply.

I listened intently as she continued.

"I watched a movie last time. A child's father was forced to renounce Christ, or faced death but he chose the latter. The child asked her mother, 'Mom. Isn't what we say in our hearts more important to God than what we say outwardly? So isn't it alright if we reject Christ outwardly, but still believe in Him in our hearts?' The mother looked at the child, 'If that were so, what would become of faith?'"

"So Brian, given the options, I'd still walk through the mine field," she ended with a solid conclusion.


The conversation kept playing again and again in my mind, particularly these words.

Those who choose to keep their lives will lose it. Those who lay them down willingly will gain them.

If we say in our hearts that we believe in Christ but outwardly deny Him, then what becomes of faith?

Indeed, what becomes of faith?

I wiped the tears of my eyes. Amazingly, I found renewed strength and resolve to stand up to the persecutions. I must endure to the end, just as the many Christian brothers and sisters who have lost their lives standing firm in their faiths to the end. I must not give in!

With my eyes remained closed, I prayed to the Lord once again.

Lord, I thank you that you've sustained me thus far. I praise you that you have given me the ability to endure up to now. I pray Lord, that you will continue to strengthen me to stand up to the persecutions until the end. Give me the courage to embrace death when the time comes, for when I die, I shall join you in Paradise.

Unspeakable peace flowed through me that night. I felt God tugging at my soul. Somehow, I could sense that I would soon return home to be with Him. A few silent moments passed and I fell soundly asleep.

The following morning, I was awoken by the yell of a soldier. "Hey you, get up! We're moving out today!"

After cleaning myself, I followed the soldier to the jeep waiting for us outside the prison facility. To my surprise, Calvin and 2 other survivors were making their way towards the jeep as well. My face brightened at the chance of seeing them again after 3 months of separation. I took the opportunity to have a word with Calvin.

"Hey. How're ya doing man?"

"Well, not exactly 100% fine, but God has sustained me for the past 3 months."

"Glad to hear that."

"What do you think they'll do to us?"

"Execute us, maybe?"

"Then, are you ready to die, brother?"

"Certainly! No doubt about it!"

We smiled approvingly towards each other as the military jeep made its way along the dirt road towards the jungle.

We arrived at a seemingly barren piece of land. The commander who ordered the destruction of Sperro was there waiting for us.

The rest of the captives and I got off the jeep and stood before him. He paced back and forth, perhaps thinking of what to say and how to say it. He paused and, with a sinister look on his face, turned to me and asked, "Have you made your decision? Do you deny your faith in Christ?"

"No way! Christ is Lord and saviour!" I shot back.

He seemed to have anticipated the answer. He thought for a while, then posed the same question, but this time made it sound more enticing.

"This whole land is littered with mines. If you choose to remain defiant to the end, then you shall walk through this mine field and be blown to bits! Then you can join you beloved Jesus in death! But if you choose to obey me, then you will be a free man. You will be given permanent citizenship and you'll be given the privileges of a free citizen. Think about it! Don't throw your life away!"

He had played this mind game far too many times. Now absolutely certain of my stand, his coaxing no longer made me think twice about my faith. I replied without hesitation.

"I don't want your citizenship, or any of your empty promises. My stand is final. Christ is Lord and saviour! Don't make me repeat that!"

I knew I had crossed the threshold. The commander was clearly fed up with my determination and was furious at his inability to coax me into abandoning my faith. As if trying to intimidate me, he bellowed, "Alright, let's see if your God saves you now!"

He ordered the troops to untie the ropes that were binding my hands and feet. He gave another command and I suddenly noticed several rifles trained at me.

"Now then, if you have faith in your saviour, walk through the minefield!"

I turned towards Calvin. He smiled and nodded assuringly at me. I smiled back at him.

"See you soon, brother."

"Yeah, see you soon."

Catching one last glimpse of my dear companion, I turned my attention towards the barren land that lay before me. I was no longer fearful of the impending death. I was no longer petrified by the fear of death that had held me captive for so long. I was ready to embrace the certainty of God's promise of eternal life.

I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the wind. For a brief moment in time, I thought I heard a faint whisper.

Come home, my faithful child. Don't be afraid. Receive now the crown of life which you have been fighting for.

Yes Lord...

After a brief moment, I walked slowly but steadfastly towards the mine field of hopes...

The End.

Brian Chee

Chinese New Year 2008

2008 - The year of the Rat or the year of the LORD?

expanded from a sermon delivered by Pastor Antonio of Calvary Charismatic Church, Sandakan

(Emblem of rat, representing the Year of the Rat)
(Emblem of the Lion of Judah, representing the Year of the LORD)

According to Feng Shui predictions, it is a great year ahead, filled with prosperity, wealth, good health, etc. However, some of us also need to be cautious about certain aspects of our lives. In order to avoid "bad luck", we'll have to buy certain items, wear them or place them in our houses.

But for us Christians, is it just a Year of the Rat, or the Year of the LORD?

I believe that after the coming of Christ into our lives, every year is the year of the LORD. This year is no exception, it's not just the year of the rat, it's the year of the LORD!

Let's have a look at Luke 4:18-19.

18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
This prophecy was once give by the LORD through the prophet Isaiah. The prophecy was fulfilled by the coming of Jesus. When the LORD spoke of these words, He was referring to the year of Jubilee or the year of the LORD. The Bible tells us that this year is the year of freedom, where everyone is set free from bondage. Every person returns to his or her ancestral land. Those who have sold themselves as servants to repay debts are released. This is declared by the LORD in Leviticus 25.

Refer to the passage of Luke above. If you read on further to verse 20, Jesus proclaims that "Today the scripture is fulfilled". Jesus declares that He has come to preach the Good News, set the captives free, heal the blind and, as verse 19 affirms, to proclaim the year of the LORD.

Now then, there are three reasons why every year is the year of the LORD.

1. Jesus was sent to preach the Good News - for the healing of the broken hearted

  • Jesus was sent following the need of forgiveness and clear conscience before God. The greatest need of a person is to be reconciled with God, since each person has been tainted by sin.
  • As a result of sin, we live in a fallen world, where people hurt us, suffering and death are rampant, injustice is all around us. Our inadequacies hinder us from ever reaching the perfect standard required by God. No matter how hard we try to find peace and joy on earth, it seems that, nothing can satisfy our inner spiritual needs. We hunger for a divine presence to just fill us.
  • Only Jesus can do that. Jesus was sent to heal our wounded spirits and mend our broken hearts. Being God, Jesus is omnipresent. He is available everywhere, anytime. We just need to call on His name. He will give us comfort, He will draw us close to Himself and just let the peace flow from Him into our empty hearts. He fills us with unimaginable joy. How wonderful indeed that He is available all the time, not just in a particular year!

2. Jesus was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives

  • Each one of us is held captive by sin. We dwell in our sins, bad habits that we are unable to shake off through our own effort. The result of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
  • We need a saviour who is able to save us from our sins, something that we are unable to do on our own.
  • This salvation is readily available through Jesus Christ who has been sent as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. This atonement is available anytime to those who are willing to humble themselves and accept the LORD as their saviour. It's not just limited to a particular year. It's available throughout all the years!
  • By accepting Christ as our saviour, we are set free from whatever bondages of sin or bad habits that we cannot free ourselves from by our human strength. We are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:18)!
  • This covenant of eternal life with God is sealed through the blood of Jesus and is everlasting. It does not merely last for a year, like the atonement through animal sacrifices offered by the Israelites yearly on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16). Therefore, we can be certain that every year is the year of the LORD. As long as we walk with Christ, we are set free for eternity!
  • This can be compared to the Chinese Reunion dinner, when one time in a year, everyone can gather together for a meal and everything is forgiven.
3. Jesus came to give sight to the blind
  • We are blinded by our own sin that we do not see the light from God. We do not see the path that God has prepared for us.
  • But Jesus came to restore our sight, to make our vision clear, to lift the veil that has obscured our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:16).
  • We can now walk confidently, fully assured of the prize that lays before us. We can face any sufferings or hardships, not with Feng Shui items, charms, talismans, astrology, etc., but through the guidance of our LORD Jesus Christ, who is available 24/7!
In conclusion, the year of the rat can be compared to a rat race. We strive and compete with one another for material wealth, prosperity, good health, etc. but the year of the LORD has come upon us. The LORD has come to set us free. We no longer have to worry about these things because as long as we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things shall be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). Jesus gives all these things freely to those who seek and ask of Him.

One more reason why the year of the LORD is supreme to the year of the rat is that the year of the LORD is also the year of the the Lion of Judah! How glorious is that!

Amen, LORD Jesus.


Brian Chee

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Conspiracy

“What is it that you desire? Riches? Honour?” asked the major, a hint of enticement emanating from his voice.

“Your dead body, you coward!” came the reply.

This struck a cord. The major beat the prisoner repeatedly with his staff. With a menacing snarl, he threatened the captive. Looking at his interrogator straight in the eye, the captive remained unperturbed, unflinching and seemingly calm despite the gravity of his ordeal.

“Very well, let’s try something different,” the major declared with a sinister tone. “Summon Torquere! Let’s see how this bastard fares against him.”

A few deadening moments passed. Abruptly, the clanging sound of the metal door was heard. The tormenter had arrived, brandishing his shiny metal suitcase. Everyone in the room knew what was in it – truth serums, syringes, vials of acid, razors, pliers and all sorts of instruments intended to inflict immense pain to his victim.

“Now then, care to tell me your little secret before my colleague here begins the ‘treatment’?” the major inquired, sounding almost victorious. Undoubtedly, the terrifying sight of the elite tormenter should serve as a great incentive for the prisoner to divulge his secret, thought the major. Otherwise, the excruciating ‘treatment’ administered by the tormenter should render the prisoner begging for mercy and more than willing to disclose the piece of information. Either way, the major was sure of obtaining what he sought.


The major then gestured for Torquere to begin. The tormenter grinned sadistically, before pulling out some vials of clear, corrosive liquid and proceeding to work…

Ten years ago,

It all began in 2050 A.D. when the entire world fell under one world government called the New World Order. Decades of conspiracy by a multitude of influential politicians and powerful businessmen have led to the unification of all world nations under one totalitarian government. World bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and other global organizations have served as hotbeds for such universal conspiracies.

The world was then divided into 10 states, each ruled by a single ruler. The rulers convene annually or when summoned by the Supreme Ruler at his palace in Rome. The Supreme Ruler carried the title “Emperor” and had authority over all the other rulers of the states.

The world government imposed restrictions to all individual freedom. Each individual was required to submit to the government. As a seal of their submission, each person was required to have a microchip embedded under the skin of his or her forehead. Without this chip, the person could perform no essential activities such as trading, travelling or obtaining education without being arrested by the Special Enforcement Agents enlisted by the government to apprehend any errant individuals.

Despite the government’s restrictive laws and harsh enforcements, there exists one small rebel faction, called the Conquerors, that dares to stand up and challenge the authority of the New World Order. It is reported that the main base of operations is in Turkey, though no one knows exactly where the base is located. The rebels have used guerilla tactics disrupt critical government infrastructure and destroy valuable economic zones, especially oil wells.

10 years later,

“Is everyone in position?”

“Yes, Sir. Everything is in order. The empire will be yours.”

“Excellent. Commence with Operation Decapitation.”


I felt someone nudging me from behind. Deep in my thoughts, I was jolted back to reality as I turned to acknowledge the gesture. It was Field Marshall Grados.

“General, are the soldiers ready to be mobilized?” he posed.

“Affirmative.” I responded.

The day was 6 June 2050. All the rulers of the 10 states will be gathering for the Grand Annual Convention. Security in Rome was tight. Army tanks rolled across the street and fighter jets roared across the skies. I was in charge of the security in Rome that day. It was a strenuous task, I must admit, bearing the safety of the world leaders on your shoulders. Intelligence sources have confirmed rebel activities in the vicinity of Rome. No doubt, they would use the event as an opportunity to deal a fatal blow to the government by executing its leaders.

Security at the airport was at a maximum. The leaders began arriving one after another. Upon arrival, they were escorted by the best trained Alpha Soldiers into heavily armoured motorcades. The motorcades were then escorted by a convoy of heavily armoured APC’s to the meeting point in the city of Rome.

All the leaders arrived safely at the Romulan palace, where the Emperor was awaiting their arrival.

Security around the palace was beefed up. Thousands of Alpha Soldiers were deployed in the vicinity of the palace. Predator gunships encircled the palace, ready to unleash a barrage of anti-tank missiles in the event of any tank assaults by the rebels. Banshee fighters screeched across the clear blue sky, ready to engage any incoming rebel aircraft. Anti-missile batteries were deployed all around the palace to counter any potential rebel missile attack.

Access into palace by any unauthorized personnel was barred. Bomb detectors and snipers were deployed to ward off any potential suicide bombers. The bomb squad was ready if a bomb threat was ever discovered. Everything seemed in order. It was almost impossible that any rebel attack could penetrate all of those security barriers, I thought. With that, I reclined comfortably against my chair in my command post as my eyes surveyed the monitor screens before me.

Elsewhere in the palace, a figure brushed past several security checkpoints. It walked briskly along the corridors. Reaching the control room, a security card was withdrawn and swiped across the card reader beside the door. The figure pressed a thumb against the fingerprint reader. The door opened and the figure entered the room, which was filled with all sorts of control knobs and switches. After surveying the room, the figure approached one of the controls and with the flick of a switch and the push of some dials, a voice could be heard, “Security at section 16-A disabled.” Satisfied that the mission had been accomplished, the figure left the room.


“Sir, the security is disabled,” said a voice. “Shall we move in now?”

“Wait for my command,” another voice replied.

The squad of rebels was ready and waiting in the sewers. They were tasked with one mission: to assassinate the Order’s top leaders, particularly the Emperor. Severing the chain of command would undeniably leave the Order without direction.

After some final checks, Commander Ezros gave the order, “Alright. Execute the mission. Long live the Brotherhood!”

The rebels made their way through the sewers, through a secret passageway into the palace.


“As you can see, gentlemen, the New World Order has brought about great change to the world. The integrated political, social and economic system has ushered in huge development to all the nations of the world,” the Emperor began.

“Yes, except for the vile rebels who have continued to oppose our plans and who have refused to submit to our authority,” President Dolous interjected. “Their attacks in the past few months have damaged critical infrastructure and I am growing tired of their persistence.”

“What about the rebel captive that Major Teroh interrogated that other day? Has he yielded any useful information?” President Valious spoke up, apparently gesturing towards President Marcus

“No, the bastard was defiant to the end. Pity. He would’ve made a fine soldier for the Order had he not been corrupted by the rebel propaganda,” came the reply.

“This is a problem indeed. But I have confidence in that all of you will be able to deal with them, severely,” continued the Emperor.

“Of course, Sir,” all the ten rulers replied in unison.

“Good. Now then, on to our main agenda. In order to tighten our grip around the people, we need usurp more power from the local jurisdiction, giving the central power a greater autonomy in all aspects of governance…”


“Sir, we have a problem,” a soldier reported to me.

“What is it this time?” I uttered indolently.

“Our security at Sector 16-A has been rendered inoperative.”

“What? How is that possible? When did this happen?”

“According to one of the guards, it was disabled about 20 minutes ago. Apparently, someone accessed the control room about the same time.”


“According to the log, it was…Field Marshall Grados.”

“What? That’s impossible. Why would he want to do that?”

“I don’t know, Sir. Shall I contact him?”

“Yes, do that, please.”


“Sir, everything is in place as ordered. We’re ready to begin the operation,” a rebel commando radioed Commander Ezros.

“Very well, do it,” the commander ordered.


“We have superfluous manpower in the production sector but critically short of human resources in the education sector. Now may I propose…”

Before he could finish his sentence, an explosion shook the place and President Valerian fell off the chair he was comfortably reclining against.

Everyone in the conference room began to panic.

“What happened?”

Another explosion could be heard and then gunfire.


“Sir, rebel troops have breached the parameter! They’re making their way to the conference room.”

“What? How can this be? Deploy all troops to the conference room immediately!”

“Yes sir!”

Damn, they totally caught us off guard, I thought. Field Marshall Grados must have been working with the rebels all this while. There was no way anyone could’ve gotten past all the tight security around the palace. No way…

We reached the reception area. A hallway leading to the conference room was just beyond. The place was a mess. Several blasts have ripped massive holes in the walls and the floor. The bodies of several guards were lying motionless on the ground. We brushed past the bodies and debris towards the hallway leading to the conference room. The sound of gunshots resonated from the hallway.

We entered the hallway to see the last of the guards being killed by the rebel commandos. Upon realizing our presence, the rebels turned and fired. The soldier next to me was hit in the neck and crumpled to the ground, motionless. I took cover behind the walls. Composing myself, I withdrew my handgun and fired at the rebels.

The rebels hurried through the hallway to the conference room. The heavily armoured door of the conference room was locked. The rebels tried to crack open the door by hacking through the security code.

My troops and I pursued them and distracted them from their task. A heated exchange of gunfire ensued. After what seemed like eternity, the bulk of the imperial troops arrived and outnumbered the rebels. The rebels, sensing the end, withdrew an explosive device and detonated it, killing all of them.

That was close, too close.

The door to the conference room was unlocked. To our relief, all of the leaders were safe.


I marched back to the command post and summoned all my underlings.

“Any sign of Field Marshall Grados?” I spoke up.

“Apparently not. You believe he perpetrated all these?”answered Colonel Brandy.

“How else could the rebels have breached the palace parameter if it were not for him disabling the security at Sector 16-A? There is simply no way,” I exclaimed.


“Issue an arrest warrant for Field Marshall Grados. Effective immediately, I’m relieving him of his command of the Roman army,” I declared.

“As you wish, sir,” came the unequivocal reply.

“Next, I want the leaders to be evacuated to a safe location. Major Teroh, I shall leave it to you to oversee this matter,” I ordered. “Meanwhile, I want all imperial troops in the palace to purge the palace of any remaining rebel presence.”

With that, the council was dismissed.


Back at the conference room, the leaders were escorted to the armoured motorcades waiting outside the palace, where they will be taken to a safe house located about 10 km away.

“Are we ready to move, soldiers?” Major Teroh asked one of the commanding officers.

“At your order, sir.”

“Take the Vatican Pass. The rebels won’t think of attacking the motorcade there.”

“Yes sir.”


“Phase One of the plan is completed. The chicken has left the coop. Proceeding with Phase Two...”

“Excellent. Dylan, I shall leave the motorcades to you. Meanwhile, I have a dinner reception with the Emperor.”

“Long live to you, Brother.”


Back at the palace, the Emperor was being escorted out of the conference room.

“Your Majesty, shall we escort you to the royal safe house?” I asked.

“No, that will not be necessary.”

“Then, we should at least get you upstairs to the royal chambers.”

“Very well then.”

Just as we were about to proceed, my cell phone rang. I answered. It was Colonel Brandy.

“Sir, we’ve just discovered the body of Field Marshall Grados. It seems that his right hand was severed and his security card was taken from him,” he reported.

“That explains how the rebels got access to the control room. Anything else of interest?”

“Yes, it would appear we’ve found an 8-pointed star lying near the marshal’s body, typically worn by an officer by the rank of major.”

“Wait a minute, Major Teroh’s badge was missing from his uniform wasn’t it?”

“I’m afraid so, sir.”

“Traitor! Where is the major now?”

“We’re still looking for him.”

“The motorcades! Have they left?”

“Yes, they left about 10 minutes ago.”

“Recall them immediately. Send troops to cover them. We’ve just walked right into an ambush!”

“At once, sir!”

I hung up.

“What’s the matter, major?” the Emperor questioned me.

“We’ve just discovered that Major Teroh is the perpetrator behind today’s events. He has been working for the rebels. We fear that the motorcades are walking straight into an ambush.” I replied grimly.

“What? This is a disaster!”

“Don’t worry, Your Majesty. We are doing all that we can to ensure the safety of the leaders. But first, we must get you to the royal chambers immediately.”

Flanked by imperial troops, the emperor was escorted up to the royal chambers.

We reached the top of the stairs. Numerous thoughts raced through my mind now. Will the troops make it in time to save the motorcades? Are we walking right into another trap? What is the rebels’ next move?

Without warning, a bomb ripped through the corridors, killing several soldiers. I was knocked back by the force of the explosion and almost fell off the stairs. Almost simultaneously, gun fire broke out from all sides. We were once again caught unaware.

The soldiers and the rebels exchanged fire. I took cover with the Emperor. We must reach the royal chambers. We shall be safe there.

Ordering the troops to cover us, we raced along the corridors, up another flight of stairs. Awaiting us were more rebel troops, who let out a barrage of ammunition towards us almost immediately. We took cover behind the walls and returned fire. I took out my hand gun and shot at the rebel troops, killing three of them. We were joined by reinforcements soon after and we overpowered the rebels.

The chambers were now in sight. After recomposing ourselves, we made a dash for the chambers. Just then, gunshot rang out again from behind us. A soldier behind me was hit and instantly tumbled to the ground. I turned and let out a few shots from my handgun. One of the shots hit a rebel troop in the chest, and he collapsed.

Finally, we reached the chambers. I entered the room with the Emperor and sealed the door behind us. We were safe inside. Meanwhile, gunshot sounds were still audible from the other side of the door. However, the door and walls of the chamber were engineered such that they were able to withstand explosions of tremendous scales, so I knew we were safe behind these walls.

I was now alone with the Emperor. It was time to execute the final part of the plan.

“Commander Ezros, I do believe you’re here. It’s time to carry out the final phase of the plan.”

The commander was hiding inside a cupboard and made his appearance at my call.

“What is the meaning of this?” demanded the Emperor.

“You see, your Majesty. This day demarcates the boundaries of a new era without the Order. With your death, the Order shall meet its demise and the world shall be free of your wretched grasps,” cried Commander Ezros.

“No wait, maybe we can discuss this,” pleaded the Emperor.

“I’m afraid there is nothing more to discuss. Sic sempre tyrannis!”

With that, Commander Ezros pointed his handgun at the Emperor and pulled the trigger. The Emperor collapsed, dead.

Then, the commander turned to me.

“I appreciate your help in this, General. But I’m afraid you are no longer of any use to me.”

“What? But we had a deal!” I retorted.

“Well, too bad. But I can’t take any chances.”

“You traitor!”

BANG! A shot rang out. Commander Ezros crumpled to the floor, blood gushing from his temple.

“How timely of you, Major,” I commented the impeccable timing of Major Teroh’s appearance. He had been hiding in the royal chambers as well.

“Thank you. With the Emperor dead, we can now ascend to command the Order. We can create our empire!” exclaimed the Major.

“You could’ve done a better job though covering your tracks after killing the Marshal. Now the whole army and police are looking after you.”

“Don’t worry bout that. I’ll think of something to say to them.”

The Major was now examining the Emperor’s body now with his back facing against me.

“I’m sorry, major, but I can’t take any chances. It will be MY Empire!”

BANG! A shot rang out from my handgun. The bullet went through the Major’s head. He collapsed like a marionette with its strings cut.

“My Empire…” I said with a grin.

The sound of gunshot on the other side of the door has now subsided. Instead, I heard a voice calling out.

“Your majesty, are you alright there. I thought I heard gunshots.”

I recognized the voice. It was Colonel Brandy. Moments later, I unsealed the door.

“What…happened?” asked the Colonel, perplexity clearly registering on his face.

“I’m afraid the traitor hid in the chambers with the rebel. I managed to kill them but not after they shot the Emperor,” I replied grimly. “What of the motorcades?”

“I’m afraid they’ve been totally destroyed by a rebel ambush. All ten leaders are dead.”

Victory! With the leaders gone, I can now ascend to the throne of the empire unopposed.

“We must not allow this loss bring down the empire. We shall retaliate against the rebels. Set up an interim government immediately. I shall personally lead the empire on this crusade against the rebel scourge.”

“At once, Sir.”


Two months after incident, I was crowned the new Emperor of the Order. The coup was a success. It was now time to repay the rebels for their assistance.

I reviewed the tape left to me at my desk by Major Teroh. It was about the interrogation of the rebel captive. The captive finally relented and disclosed the precise coordinates of the rebel headquarters. This information was not reported to any of the former rulers.

Now, I possessed the piece of information that would secure my place on the throne. It was time to proceed with the annihilation.

The just the beginning.

Emperor Brian Chee