Vania, my daughter, is 10-year old now. Today she wrote her first poem ever in the style of haiku (a Japanese poetic form). The poem is so beautiful that I cannot help from sharing it here.
Hard winds blow astray
As clouds swirl around each other
Making day the night
The following is my translation of the poem into Chinese.
The original publication of the poem is here. She typed it and cited the picture by herself.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Vania, my daughter, is 10-year old now. Today she wrote her first poem ever in the style of haiku (a Japanese poetic form). The poem is so beautiful that I cannot help from sharing it here.
Jackie Evancho is a brilliant singer. It is unimaginable to believe she is barely 12, especially when you hear her songs. Lovers is one of her songs that I loved the most. She has interpreted the song so wonderful. I think that even the original movie itself does not deserve this marvelous rendering.
There was a field in my old town
Where we always played hand in hand
The wind was gently touching the grass
We were so young so fearless
Then I dreamt over and over
of you holding me tight under the stars
I made a promise to my dear lord
I will love you forever
Time has passed
So much has changed
But the field remains in my heart
Oh, where are you?
I need to tell you I still love you
So I reach out for you
You fly around me like a butterfly
Your voice still echoes in my heart
You are my true love
There was a field in my old town
Where in spring all flowers blossomed wide
We were chasing butterflies
Hand in hand ‘till close of day
Your voice still echoes in my heart
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011
From the economic, the web evolutionary, the societal, and the technological perspectives, the computing as a utility has already begun.
This is the part 2 of a three-installment mini-series.
Part 1: a broad view of public utilities
Part 2: another thinking of the mobile web and the apps
The rise of the mobile web and the prevalence of the mobile apps combine to be the most significant phenomenon about the Web since the hype of Web 2.0. Based on a recent report from TheNextWeb, 31% of the 5 billion mobile phone users in 2010 accessed the web through their phones. The analysts predicted that in as early as 2014 the total number of global mobile Internet users would be equal to the total number of desktop Internet users. According to the data by Business Insider in March, from June 2009 to March 2001 the number of iPhone apps increased 7 times and reached the total number of 350K. During the same time period the number of apps on Android increased 50 times and reached beyond the total number of 250K.
What does this phenomenon represent? Among the many people have explained it based on four typical perspectives.
Economically the mobile web rises due to the economic need. Fred Wilson declared that "the mobile economics will trend toward Web economics". The mobile web business is what the Web business extends itself to the mobile phones for the convenience of the customers. Although cautiously I disagree to Wilson's corollary that "the business models that don't work well on the web will not work well in mobile in the long run", sincerely I am inclined to his prediction that the size of the mobile web business will be "even bigger and more exciting" than the desktop web business we have experienced.
Evolutionarily the Internet demands new types of links to grow. Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff claimed that the rise of the mobile web was one indicator to "the Web is dead". "The rise of machine-to-machine communications", Anderson wrote, "... is all about control." Web 2.0 brings the Web users closer to each other. The mobile web, by contrast, brings the users' computing closer to the respective service computing providers. Through the mobile apps the direct links between the service providers and the service consumers are established and enhanced. With these new strong connections the Internet was woven to be more diverse in the style of its links.
Societally we are able to get to the more delicate details of our society through the mobile apps. Ed Schipul emphasized that the mobile web equaled to a new way of communication in his public presentation "Mobile Web: How the impact of the iPhone will change Communications". Through the mobile web, the unspeakable living context is added to the social networks. The mobile web is a natural extension of Web 2.0 that is dedicated to the discovery and enhancement of the interpersonal relationships in our society.
Technologically it is a new gadget revolution that makes us live better. The prevalence of the mobile apps has updated the vision from software as a service (SaaS) to mobile as a platform. The quick adoption of iOS and Android indicates us a new era of information technology. They are not another operating system. They represent a technological revolution that liberates us from the sole binding to the computers for knowledge calculation.
Behind the four explanations it is the shift of computing from the local computers to the cloud as an utility.
Because of the computing as an utility, we are able to invent the new, less-powerful gadgets such as the smart phones to handle the more and more sophisticated demands of information calculation. This is the technological impact.
Because the new information-computing gadgets are smaller and less powerful, which means cheaper, more users are actively involved into the tide of information creation. More delicate details of our social life are digitized by the small gadgets. This information is then sent to the more powerful cloud and executed by the utility. This is the societal impact.
Because the demands are generated by the gadgets while the solutions are provided by the utility, the Internet is evolving toward an enhanced web whose new links directly connect the demands and the solutions. This is the web evolutionary impact.
And at last, because of all of the above computing becomes more efficient and more effective by the form of being an utility. In consequence we can use it to produce more output that satisfies our economic needs. This is the economic impact.
The cloud computing at present is still on its very early stage. Let it alone the computing as a utility in its ultimate form. But as we discussed in this post, the process of computing to be a utility is already inevitable by the mean of technology, by the mean of societal influence, by the mean of web evolution, and by the mean of economy. It is only a matter of when in contrast to a matter of whether or not.
In the first installment of the series we studied that in theory computing is eligible to be a utility. In the second installment we discussed how the process of computing being a utility had already begun. In the next installment we will then share how the world and our life would be after the computing as a utility comes true.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
It has been 5 months. I must say that it is hard to keep on sharing a reasonably insightful post about the belief of Christianity every Sunday. Then I can imagine how hard it must be for a pastor to prepare a sermon that must inspire and bring light to hundreds of listeners every week.
The difference is that a post like this, let it alone a sermon, must be the sharing of truth and love. It is unlike writing the technology articles, which you do not have to put into your spirit. A post of technology does not require me to study and examine the deepest of my heart. But any post (or sermon) of the belief takes the heart with the writing. Before we speak of the truth, we were first judged and examined by the truth. The experience is hard. And many times it is even painful because it is truly difficult to write about sunshine when we find ourselves still in the darkness.
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
In Chinese Translation (以弗所书 6)
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Computing is qualified to be a public utility of the 21st century; and it is good if it comes true.
This is the part 1 of a three-installment mini-series.
Part 1: a broad view of public utilities
A public utility represents an infrastructure that serves a general demand of the public. The typical general demands include such as the demand of water supply, the demand of power supply, the demand of waste disposal, the demand of transportation, the demand of remote communication, and the demand of safety. Respectively we have the public utilities such as water, electricity (and natural gas), sewage, road (and rail), post (and phone), and police services.
Because of public utility ordinary people as well as the businesses may reach their general demands in low cost. Take the demand of power supply as the example. Before electricity became a public utility, power supply for not only the ordinary persons but also the businesses was expensive. In consequence, both the intensively energy-consuming personal gadgets and the intensively energy-consuming businesses were economically infeasible in society. After the invention of electricity distribution network, electricity became a new public utility of the 20th century. With the significantly lowered cost of power supply, many cutting-edge energy-consuming personal gadgets and factories rose from the horizon. It was the last great industry revolution.
But it is not to say that any general demand is suitable to be a public utility. Let's take a look at two examples.
The general demand of food supply is rarely implemented as a public utility. Comparing to the demands such as water supply or power supply, the food supply is too diverse in its demand. Different people often have varied requests on the food they demand. As the result, unless it is in some toughest time of history (such as during the war time when the general demand of food supply is generally reduced to be bread only) few governments take the demand of food supply to be a public utility.
Another typical example is the general demand of marriage. Although certainly everybody expects a spouse, never have this demand been a public utility. The reason is similar. Everybody has his (or her) unique preference. Such a demand is infeasible for a public utility solution.
With these insights we may start to study the other general demands and see whether they are feasible to be a public utility. Let's begin with a controversial topic---the general demand of healthcare. Shall our society be dominated by the government-run hospitals or the government-operated health insurance? The answer shall be no. The demand of healthcare is similar to the demand of food supply. The demand is general to everybody. But at the same time it is also too diverse in the demand with respect to the individuals. Government must initiate a few special programs for taking care of the health of the low-income people. It is the same as government has already provided special food supply programs for the low-incomes. But it is not a good idea to make the general demand of healthcare be a public utility, which would be equivalent for us to have made the general demand of food supply be a public utility.
Finally we are able to touch the theme---the demand of information computation. Based on what we have studied, we shall answer two questions in order to determine whether computing would be qualified for a new public utility. (1) Is the demand of information computation general to the public? And (2) are the requests from people in this demand too diverse to be handled by a public utility?
Since the invention of personal computer and World Wide Web, our society has already entered the information age. The digitized information is flooding over the daily life of many of us. Nowadays few people claim too little information to look at. By contrast, we often complain there are too much information but too limited ability to digest. The demand of information computation has been general to most of the ordinary people of our society.
Simultaneously digital data representation is gradually becoming uniform. After decades of studies the data storage at the physical layer has already been unified. We can now indistinguishably access the data stored in varied devices that are produced by different manufactures. Even at the presentation layer, due to the efforts of the Semantic Web and the linked data initiatives the data representation is approaching a common standard across the Web. All these achievements lays the foundation for implementing the general demand of information computation to become the new public utility of computing.
This first installment explains briefly why computing is qualified and good in theory to be a new public utility in the 21st century. The next installment will continue the topic by illustrating the Web evolutionary trend how computing is actually approaching to be a public utility.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
An ancient term (but often used in a few modern computer games)---Knights Templar (Chinese Translation: 圣殿骑士)---has been referred to the murder who was responsible to the recent tragedy in Norway.
With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
In Chinese translation (马太福音 26)
What is the purpose of being christian? Is it to punish whoever does not follow Christ? Absolutely NO! Lord asks us to love the other, including our enemies, so that we distinguish us from the rest of the world.
Why is Jesus unique comparing to the other religion leaders (if you think of him as the leader of a religion)? He did not have knights around protecting him. He did not author any document advocating his viewpoints. He did not even have several hundreds of (let it alone thousands or millions of) followers who claimed to be loyal to him before he was killed in the cross. But such a man became so remarkable in history that our chronology is ordered based on when he was born.
Jesus did not need knights to protect him two thousands year ago. Jesus does not need knights to protect his church and his words at present too. The so-called Knights Templar was for human ambitious instead of for the mission of Lord. God created the world by love. Lord overcomes the world also by love.
So, do not ever speak again that someone is a knight of Lord. Our Lord had talked about it himself before he was arrested. "But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Although these days most people in North America might have paid more attention to the tragedy in Norway or the ongoing debate between the Republic Congress and President Obama, there was a potentially more historically influential news in China. At about 8:27 PM on July 23, two new Chinese bullet trains crashed together in an accident. Chinese people are outraged. People understand that it is impossible to avoid all accidents. But people cannot accept how the Chinese government had handled the accident. Personally I believe this event could be the September 11 of China. The event is remarkable and I may share more of my viewpoints later in this blog about this tragedy and how it may affect China in the future.
Today, I translated an article written by the currently most popular Chinese blogger---Han Han (Chinese: 韩寒)---early today. Very compelling words especially for the ones who want to learn more about the real China and the real Chinese people.
A Country Detached
You have to ask, how could they be so frenzied? They feel that they have been very patient and self-restraint.
You have to ask, how could they invert right and wrong so dramatically? They feel that they have been very just and frank.
You have to ask, how could they shield the murderer so insistently? They feel that they have been very sorry to their fucking friends.
You have to ask, how could they hide the truth? They feel that they have been very transparent and open.
You have to ask, how could they still live in a life so corrupt even in this accident? They feel that they have lived very plainly.
You have to ask, how could they be still so arrogant? They fell that they have been very humble to everybody.
You feel wronged; and so do they. In their mind, you could not watch TV under the rule of the Qing government. Now a TV set has entered every household of China. What a magnificent accomplishment!
This is what speaks in their mind. "We have built this for you, and we have built that for you. You shall not care what had happen during the process or to whom the gift is. At least, you are using it now, aren't you? Originally traveling from Shanghai to Beijing it took you one day and one night. Now it takes you only five hours. Certainly, however, the train must not be hit by lightning! Why are you not grateful? Why do you still question us so much?"
They continued. "Occasionally there is this accident. The top leaders of our government have even already expressed their concern. We have sent our speakers to answer your questions. Originally it was 170K insurance for every dead. Now we have risen it to 500K per dead person. And we even have fired one of our brothers. So much have we done! Why are you still stick to those insignificant details? Why don't you open your mind? Where is your grand vision?"
"Why should we apologize? We have no mistakes. This is a pain of growing up. It is our custom to get rid of the dead bodies rapidly. The earlier the release documents are signed, the more money bonus there are. The later the release documents are signed, the less insurance money you may get. This strategy has been proved very effectively by our brother departments when they perform the enforced demolition over the old resident houses. Indeed, it was a mistake of us by trying to bury the cars though the order was from above. The upper management believed that we might get rid of all the troubles as soon as all the evidences were buried. Our mistake was, however, that we worked on it during the daytime. The hole was too big and we had not well communicated with the publicity department ahead of the time. Moreover, we did not well control the onsite photographers. The whole process was executed in rush. This is the greatest lesson we learned from this accident. Next time when we bury something on the site of an accident we need to think carefully of the size of the object and especially the information confidentiality. This time we have underestimated the hardness of the work."
They believe that, overall, the rescue was successful and in time. It is well arranged, well executed, and the result is satisfactory. The only regret is that the public opinions are a little bit too loud. But they feel that it is, anyway, not their business. They are not in charge of regulating the public voice.
In their mind they also speak. "Take a look at these big achievements. We hosted the Olympic Games. We abolished the agricultural tax. You do not praise us by all these big things but only focus on the tiny little things. What intention is in your mind? We could have been tighter in politics than North Korea, we could have been poorer in economy than Sudan, and we could have been crueler in regulation than Khmer Rouge since we have a larger army than any of them. But we did not do it. And you do not thank us for not doing all of these but now demand us to apologize. We feel wronged."
In this society, everybody feel wronged. The capitalists, the proletarians, the ones with power, and the ones without any power. All of them feel wronged. In this nation that everybody feel wronged, every class and every facet of the nation detached each other. Each portion is sliding forward by inertia. If there is no reform of the nation, being detached is just a minor matter. Being derailed will be inevitable.
Why does not our nation progress forward? It is because many of THEM still use the scales in the era of Mao and Stalin to measure themselves. Hence they always feel wronged. They have been too open, too just, too kind, too humble, and too self-scarified to the normal people of China. Although these advancement are primarily due to the technology leap-forward in the present era, they conclude it as their own kindness and mercy. Therefore the more they are criticized, the more eager they are to the totalitarian. The more you MAOed (which means annoy) them, the more they missed Mao.
A friend of me who is an inner government once spoke to me. "You shall not be too greedy! As a scholar like you, if you lived forty years ago, you must have been shot. Then tell me, is our era now progressed or regressed?"
I answered. "It is you shall not be too greedy! As a viewpoint like what you just declared, if you lived ninety years ago, you must have been laughed at to the death. Now you tell me, is our era now progressed or regressed?"
脱节的国度 by 韩寒
(Update 7/29/2011, the original link has already removed by the Sina Blog administration. This is what the present China is.)
Monday, July 25, 2011
In a recent interview with Christianity Today Kevin Kelly shared his thoughts on how God may think of the man-made technologies. Nicholas Carr, one of my favorite technology author and blogger, then shared his arguments against Kelly's viewpoints in two very interesting posts (1, 2). All of these discussions are worth of reading twice.
"Is technology a moral force?" Nick Carr asked this question in his second post. Kelly insisted that the progress of technology achievement makes our society better. Therefore, technology certainly is a moral force if we accept that we live happier and happier because of the technological achievements. By contrast, Carr believe that technology does nothing about goodness or badness. I incline to Nick's viewpoint on this topic though I agree more to Kevin's general worldview.
Technology contributes nothing to improve or to decrease the overall morality of the society. Technology is not a moral force that we may use to lift the happiness of people overall.
The central point in Kelly's argument is that the advance of technology provides people more options of living. Therefore, Kelly followed, by owning more options of living people are able to live better and be happier since they may then live in their preferred way and do their preferred things with the loosened constraints.
I do not agree to this point. For example, my parents do not feel happier with all the new technologies. Many times they talk about the good old days. Though the life seemed harder with little support from technology, they felt happier internally in their heart.
Technology brings nothing about "love", if it is what Kelly truly wanted to address. If Kelly's point is valid, won't we have to agree that rich people must be generally happier than poor people since rich people generally live with the more advanced technology? In fact, we do not have this conclusion over the history. Rich people do not have more love than poor people have. The enjoyment of the advanced technology does not lift the morality of the respective classes of people. Technology does provide more options of living. But the more options of living does not make people live in a higher moral life.
By reading the interview, I felt most astonished by the following claims by Kelly.
"We are here to surprise God. God could make everything, but instead he says, "I bestow upon you the gift of free will so that you can participate in making this world. I could make everything, but I am going to give you some spark of my genius. Surprise me with something truly good and beautiful." So we invent things, and God says, "Oh my gosh, that was so cool! I could have thought of that, but they thought of that instead."
We are not going to surprise God in any sense. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that God really cares any about our technological achievements. According to the Bible, anything must be realized immediately when God says so. Then which technology of us may surprise God. HE is beyond any technology! Will we be surprised by the greatest ever technology invented by ants (if ants may invent)? Let it alone that the greatest ever technology of mankind must have not been yet invented if there is a one.
Morality is the living standard God puts in our mind. The achievement of our technology is not going to improve it. Neither will it deprive morality. But God may still be happy of the technological improvement we make. It is not because through it we lift the morality of the society. It may only due to that by doing so we show that we want to help the others. This willing to help the others is a demonstration of love. And that is all what God really cares.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Today New York State legalized same-sex marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage is always a hard debating topic. Especially to christians, how should we respond to the more and more spreading gay-rights movement? I would like to share a few of my viewpoints in this post.
Let us think of the issue in this way. If there is a person who was born blind, what is our right attitude to him? Certainly we must not deride him or despise him. On the contrary we must love him and try our best to help him. For example, we shall pass the related laws to protect their equal rights to participate the social life.
Gays and lesbians are no different from the other disabled persons. Being disabled means being unnatural. I do not agree that gay or lesbian is natural to human beings. Of course it is unnatural. Man shall be able to see. And thus blind is unnatural. In similar, man shall be attracted to the opposite gender instead of to the same sex partners. And thus being gay or lesbian is unnatural too.
Is being unnatural a sin? Back to the ancient time, people believed that those who disabled (and especially whoever born disabled) were cursed by God. Thus they were said being particularly sinful persons. Although such an idea sounded reasonable to who believed God be almighty, Jesus gave a different interpretation about the issue.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
In Chinese Translation (约翰福音 9)
Straightforwardly Jesus disclaimed that the man blind from birth was caused by sin. By contrast Jesus said that "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." After the man did what Jesus asked him to do, his unnaturalness was gotten rid of and he became a normal person.
We may learn many things from this story. As a matter to the topic of this post, I want to share the following two points.
1. Being a gay or lesbian from birth is not a sin. By contrast it reveals how sinful those who deride or despise the gays and lesbians are. God wants the works of God mights be displayed on the gays and lesbians. HE wants us to love and help the gays and lesbians so that the love from God is witnessed in public.
2. To advocate gay or lesbian being normal and natural is a sin. It is equivalent to advocating blind being normal and natural. Isn't it incorrect to spread how joyful a blind life is and thus encouraging people to being blind? In similar, it is incorrect to spread how joyful a gay life is and to encourage people to be gays or lesbians. The gay life is unnatural and shall not be encouraged, let it alone be educated, to the society, especially to the youth of our society.
3. To anyone who is not a gay (or a lesbian) from birth, it is a sin to become a gay (or a lesbian) afterwards. Isn't it a sin to blind yourself if you are not born blind? But the ones who induce another to be gay (or lesbian) sin greater.
God bless America.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I am always curious of the relationship between information and substance. Generally in our belief the two things are very much different and are very likely disjointed to each other. From Hebrews chapter 11, however, I had few abnormal thoughts on this topic.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In Chinese Translation (希伯来书 11)
As we know, in any sense faith belongs to the category of information. It is impossible to materialize faith because once it becomes accessible physically, faith no longer is faith. It is then fact, and we do not need faith to accept fact.
Therefore, we may have an alternate, scientific, interpretation of Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, such as the one I wrote in the following.
A piece of information is a substance while the two must not be coexisted in the same location on the dimension of time.
In the other words, we may calculate the equivalence between information and substance by moving the pointer in the dimension of time. If we may calculate the amount of information that leads to a substance with the known amount of mass, we may then conclude an equation that evaluates the value of the present amount of information with respect to the value of its equivalent substance.
There are several tough issues in the former hypothesis. First, what is "amount", especially when we speak the amount of information? Second, how shall we add the variable of time into the equation?
Anyway, it is quite interesting a thought, isn't it? Between information and substance, there must exist equivalence that allows them to be converted or at least to be evaluated with respect to each other. Once the equivalence might have been revealed, it would affect our life in all facets, from science to technology and from philosophy to economy. This study could be a foundational work for the next generation of our society.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Casey Anthony trial has caused many debates nation wide. Without a question Casey is a terrible mother. But is a terrible mother equivalent to a mother who kills her child? There are many side evidences suggesting (actually strongly suggesting) that Casey may have killed her daughter Caylee with intention. But is it really the just and justice we want ourselves to be treated if the Jury decided find guilty on Casey (which is nearly equivalent to sentence Casey to death) only by "suggestions"?
Casey is a sinner. Casey is very likely worse than 99% of us especially if we compare her to how we treat our own kids. My question is, however, that is it the just and justice you and I want ourselves to be treated?
Do you want a just system that may excuse you and give you one more chance when there is no absolute evidence that proves your guilty?
do you want a just system that must punish you severely as long as most of the people believe you guilty despite of the not absolutely solid evidence?
I grew up in a Communist nation. From my childhood I heard many stories that were concluded by such as "In the name of justice and for our nation and people, we sentence you death!" I was excited very much. I felt the justice have been hold because I felt it was justice. But was it?
I am not trying to make any excuse for Casey Anthony. I only want to know how my Lord, Jesus Christ, may say to this trial and say to us who shouted to sentence Casey to death. Are you just as we think ourselves being just? Have we treated Casey as we want ourselves be treated when our own sin is exposed to the public?
What I am truly disappointed about Casey is her smile after hearing the Jury's decision and her smile at the beginning of the Thursday's court. She shows no regret on her child's tragic death and thus she may have learned very little, if any, from this trial.
Then I ask myself. Am I better than that? If I make a sin and then find myself luckily having dodged the punishment, am I going to be happy of my luckiness or to be sob on the regret of the sin?
There is one woman in Bible who truly made a crime in the meantime. She was found in the act of adultery, an unquestionably crime at the meantime ans should be sentenced to death according to the justice.
Jesus only asked one question to those "righteous" people who wanted to get rid of that sin! Although it was said differently, the words Jesus said were, "do you want yourself be treated the same way on your sin?"
Just and justice. They are probably too heavy and too serious the topic to discuss. In the end, I have only one wish for Casey Anthony. It is the wish that Jesus gave to the woman who committed a death-penalty crime two-thousand years ago.
Go and sin no more.
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
In Chinese Translation (约翰福音 8)
Sunday, July 03, 2011
He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
In Chinese Translation (约伯记 12)
United States of America is until now the greatest nation in the world. Also may it be in the history of the world.
USA is not the nation that occupies the broadest land. USA is not the nation that is with the greatest number of population. USA is not even the most powerful nation in its army force if we compare it to the other great nations in history within their respective time periods.
But along the history USA is the nation whose citizens have the greatest degree of freedom. USA is the nation that engages the most variety of the human races while all of them live equally and peacefully together. USA is the nation that people with any background and from anywhere may get a chance of living and live good by their honesty, diligence, and wisdom.
Above all, however, USA is a nation whose foundation is built upon obeying the words of God.
We may interpret the messages of God differently due to our individual biases. So did the founding fathers of the United States. There was, however, a common agreement among the founding fathers. They admitted themselves to the truth. They admitted that the truth is God. And they believed that only the truth should lead the nation. Therefore, no individuals shall be superior to another when speaking of the truth. Grounded on this belief, it was born this great nation.
It is God who may make a nation great. It is also God who may overthrow a nation that is evil. It is God who may enlarge a nation. It is still God who may disperse a nation when it commits sin to the world.
God bless America!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Today is my birthday and I got a Nook Simple Touch Reader as the birthday gift. I was asked which model of the eReader I prefer to. After struggling between Nook and the Amazon Kindle, at the end my vote was for the Nook Simple Touch.
The e-Ink technology is fascinating to the really enthusiastic book readers such as myself. Nook Color, despite of its richer services and colorful display, is not a suitable product for the serious book readers. Nook Color is fun and it may be a great gift for kids especially when we want to encourage them to read more. But the device is too heavy to read books heavily. The Nook Simple Touch is very light in weight and it is very comfortable to be hold in hand for long-time (such as consecutively several hours) reading. Furthermore, one must feel painful to read books using Nook Color under the bright lights such as sunshine.
Comparing to choosing between color and the e-Ink black/white, the vote between Nook and Kindle is more tricky. Both of the gadgets are great for reading the electronic books. I was much tempted to buy a Kindle. The books on Amazon are generally cheaper. Moreover, often we can find more user reviews about the books in Amazon. Besides, until now Amazon provides us more choices of the free books that are classic in literature. I must say that currently the free books provided by Barnes & Noble in Nook is significantly less than those provided by Amazon in Kindle on both of the numbers and the quality of the books.
But, I still chose a Nook!
The killer is the store. I do not mean, however, the Barnes & Noble store. What I mean is the store, a physical book store!
A book store is more than where sells books. Otherwise we may certainly replace it with the virtual stores such as Amazon. But a book store is more than selling books.
A book store is a local knowledge hub. A book store is where people are immersed into knowledge, physically! In a book store parents may pass their love of knowledge to the young generation and the children can feel it through the physical experiences. Our world is physical instead of virtual because the physical objects deliver us their embodied message that is beyond what virtual may speak.
I feel grateful that Barnes & Noble seems understand this key difference. Bound with Nook Barnes & Noble designs several in-store features that encourage people going back to their local stores. For example, Barnes & Noble allows every Nook user having one hour per day free reading of the entire Barnes & Noble eBook collections in any of their local stores. Such a feature very well balances the copy right protection and the advertisement of the genuine knowledge products. It is hard for Amazon to provide a similar service in Kindle to compete because Amazon does not have any local store. As the result, it will be equivalent of giving up the copy right protection if Kindle tries to provide a same 1-hour per day free reading service global wide.
Moreover, based on their local stores Barnes & Noble can provide many location-based special Apps in their Nook eReaders that Amazon cannot even dare to match. The recent news that Nook Color first to offer Angry Birds with location-based extras is another great example how Barnes & Noble may eventually defeat Amazon in the field of the electronic book selling.
To the end, virtual is not going to replace the real world unconditionally. The future of our society will be a balance between the digitized and globalized virtual world and the physical and local reality world. Nook is such a product that is originated based on this balance. Therefore, I decided to choose Nook. And I recommend it to all the Thinking Space readers.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Due to the personal schedule I seldom blogged technologically in the recent months. Today, however, an article from Forbes caught my attention and pushed me to blog again. The title of the article is The Rise of the Knowledge Market. The topic represents a very important phenomenon in our modern society. In fact, I believe it is indeed the soul of the ongoing information revolution, which is the greatest event in human society since the industry revolution. The information revolution is fundamentally reconstructing our life in nearly all the levels and all of the aspects.
More than two years ago, for Internet Evolution I wrote an article titled User Generated Content, Revisited. In the article I pointed out a fundamental problem inside the model of Web 2.0---to the content creators UGC (User Generated Content) is about fame generation in contrast to the exchangeable value creation. The success of implementing the social network explained why Web 2.0 rises. The failure of bringing up a system of the individual valuation would be, however, the cause to the sunset of Web 2.0. The next day in Thinking Space, I thus coined the term UGA (User Generated Asset) and emphasized that the Web evolution urged us upgrading UGC production to be UGA production. With such a transition, the Web will evolve from a social playground to be a social marketplace in which people sell and purchase knowledge (more precisely, it shall be some type of the embodied knowledge) from each other. When we come to the Web, we no longer just browse or socialize through the Web. We use the Web building up our mind asset and trading it on the Web.
Apple's App Store is a great example of UGA production. When the developers create a third-party App and sell it through the App Store, Apple actually provides these developers a way of embodying their knowledge and selling the embodiment through the platform it designs. The success of Apple and its App Store has demonstrated us the power of the UGA business.
But the model of App Store is not even close to the ultimate vision of the UGA production. Right now one must first of all be a professional software developer so that he can take the advantage of this UGA business. Otherwise, the UGA business is simply an illusion no matter how creative a thinker he is or how compelling his mind truly may be. The model must be improved and simplified! By doing so successfully, a tremendous power of production will be released from people and a new golden time of the global business comes. Without a question the world will then be out of the recession.
Another related recent news is J.K. Rowling's decision that she will sell her electronic books directly to the readers but bypassing all the publishers. Although J.K. Rowling is likely too famous to be a typical example for the discussion of the UGA business, this decision is a sign showing the broken of the traditional knowledge trading business models, gradually but indefinitely. In tradition one have to be VERY much knowledgeable in order to earn the eligibility of entering the knowledge market. With the evolution of the Web, however, such a barrier is loosening and eventually it is going to be torn down.
As Jennifer said in her Forbes article, one may start to trade his limited knowledge as long as their is a buyer. The reason? The advancement of the Web has significantly lowered the cost of embodying human's knowledge and making it exchangeable.
This is the trend for the new-generation Web business! And this is where the Web is evolving toward at present.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
During the last week, we have seen wild fire and severe flood in varied places of United States. My family lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In the past two weeks, the town was nearly surrounded by wild fire. The mountains were smoking. Dozens of houses were burned down due to the fire. When facing such a devastating situation, we often ask---why? How could all these natural disasters happen if God is merciful?
I do not know the answer. But I do know God love us. If we had not have damaged the environment we live, if we had not have made so much hatred and so many barriers among the people, many of these natural disasters must not have happened, or at least must not have been caused so much trouble in our society. If there is no God, we must not have been survived.
Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.
In Chinese Translation (以赛亚书 1)
Sunday, June 19, 2011
1 Corinthians (9:20-21)
And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.
In Chinese Translation (歌林多前書 9)
21 向沒有律法的人，我就作沒有律法的人，為要得沒有律法的人；其實我在 神面前，不是沒有律法；在基督面前，正在律法之下。
Recently I talked about Gospel with another Christian. He has strong faith. Moreover, he is very strict on many rules written in the Bible and even on the ones that are not explicitly written in the Bible but (according to him) can be logically derived based on the Bible. In some sense, I admire him for he can keep on holding some rules that few people may ever hold. And all of these rules are good, or at least moral to the common sense. At the same time, however, I feel a little bit concern because many nonbelievers feel uneasy being with him and thus his behavior becomes an obstacle for himself to reach more people.
I believe that God has given different goals for different people to accomplish HIS plan. The brother may be asked by God to be a model of live morality from whom we may witness the purity of God. Surely the reason could be like this. But I still want to share some of my taken by reading the Bible. That is, many times the Words of God are lively, which means that it is not always in the same form of display thought the spirit never changes even a little bit.
As Paul the Apostle wrote in the 1 Corinthians Chapter 9, he actively adjusted himself to be the different types of people who followed different customs so that he might approach different audience and shared the Gospel with them. There were indeed no laws on the earth that may limit him. But only the laws of heaven he never betrayed. The reason that Paul could do like that was because he was even willing to be separated from God only if such a self-sacrifice might save a man.
God's Words are lively. If the earth itself may not last forever, why shall we stick ourselves to the laws that are in the form of the earth? What we do need to keep is the spirit of the laws, which belongs to our holy father in heaven. If eating pork may save a man, don't you eat it in order to help a brother?
May the blessing from Lord Jesus Christ to all the readers of this blog in the following week!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
For no word from God will ever fail.
In Chinese Translation (路加福音 1)
37 因为出于 神的话，没有一句不带能力的。
Or it is said: For no word from God shall be void of power. This is the God we trust and follow. None of HIS words will come back without being fulfilled. Few of us, however, truly have the faith on this fact.
Many times we worry. We worry about money, living condition, relationship with friends and relatives, and many other things. There is indeed, however, only one thing that truly we must worry. It is our relation to Jesus. Once we solve this relation well, the solutions to everything else simply follow and are accomplished.
On earth we may have many accomplishments. In reality, however, none are done by ourselves. Unless God gives us the opportunity and creates us the environment so that we may accomplish, we may have nothing done no matter how hard we work.
But still, many people just believe themselves. So God allows them working hard to get their temporary rewards, which must vanish with the end of their life.
To me and my family, however, we follow Jesus. Our awards are from HIM and HIM only. May all the people who follow Jesus be blessed, because it is true that with God nothing is impossible!
Sunday, June 05, 2011
1 Samuel (1:27-18)
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." And she worshiped the Lord there.
In Chinese Translation (撒母耳记上 1)
When Hannah pleaded to God for a child, God answered. After she received the blessing, however, she surrendered it back to the God who gave. That child was Samuel, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible.
We often ask for help from God when we get trouble or face difficulty. We, however, seldom think how we should do if God granted us what we asked.
Such a question might sound strange. If that is what I looked for and God answered, why should I give it up when finally it seems my dream comes true?
One might ask such a question because he does not yet know which one is more precious---the dream or the one who can realize any dream. If we still stay in the stage that the dream of myself is more important and more precious, we have missed the real value of the world. The one who can realize dream is always bigger than any dream, no matter how much valuable the dream means to us. When Hannah gave her most precious holding back to God, God blessed her more than she asked at the beginning.
There is a secret of our God. HE is absolutely willing to bless us in abundance. What prevents HIM from doing so is our unwillingness of surrendering ourselves. When we still love the feeling of ourselves much more than HIM, HE cannot give us such an abundance because the cost for the gifts is nothing but love! The more love you have, the more abundant God can give to you. The more love you have, the more gifts from God you can hold.
Hannah knew it. Hence God might bless her more than she asked. May all of us had faith like Hannah, be the holders of God's most precious gifts!
Saturday, June 04, 2011
June 4th has been a remarkable date of China since 1989.
During the past two decades, in China we have witnessed the death of idealism nationwide among more than a billion people. The substitution is the extreme materialism. One must not have genuine thoughts other than making money. Even the idealistic communism is dead. The remaining is the materialistic communism, which is closer to capitalism than the idealistic communism. The value of many idealistic accomplishments such as morality and self-discipline thus decreases rapidly. A representative example is the rapid prevalence of the cat theory by Deng Xiaoping (the primary architect of China's economic reform) that declares "do not care if the cat is black or white, what matters is it catches mice". In the other words, the only factor that matters in our life is which brings the material outcome.
The people of a nation needs to be materialistic in order to execute the daily business. The people of a nation, however, must also have be idealistic so that they know the real value for which they work. Someone says that nobody eats morality. Without the value of morality, however, there is no healthy human society. Idealism is mankind's self-motivation to foster the glue of healthy human society. While it is materialism that motivates people higher rate of production, it is idealism that keeps humans be a coherent society rather than many self-interest groups.
In 1989, Chinese people promoted a greater demand of idealism that threatened the leadership of the mean-time government. In order to get rid of this threat, the Chinese leadership board took the worst action by unlimited exaggerating the value of material in every aspect of human society. Therefore, the correctness of any action becomes no longer judged by the truth (which is an idealistic concept) but by the its material consequence (which is a materialistic concept). We have to say that the Chinese leadership board were very smart because they immediately figured out the best way of solving the problem. Such a knowledge is probably the worst heritage in China's multi-thousand-year history. But it works. It killed, again, the idealism in China among at least a generation of people.
After twenty years, it is hard to blame too much on either the students' or the government's decisions in the spring of 1989 in China. Both sides have their arguments and both sides had made a few bad decisions. The worst of all, however, is the government's promotion of the extreme materialism after the tragedy because it hurts and will continue hurt China for many generations. Probably in the sense of truth, June 4th, 1989 was indeed a battle between the idealism and the materialism more than any other contrasts.
Something ended in June 4th, 1989. Something began in June 4th, 1989. I felt sad about all people who were killed or suffered by that tragedy, no matter they belonged to the side of students or the side of government. They should not die for just few person's ambition.
Friday, June 03, 2011
A recent initiation by the three leading search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) made people excited, especially to the Semantic Web community. The initiation, Schema.org, is a loose standard that declares supporting a common vocabulary for structhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifured data markup on web pages. I simply type some of my take on this announcement.
First, it reveals the difficulty faced by the traditional search engines to further improve the quality of Web search. With the advance of the Web technology, webmasters inject richer content and more variety in data layout structure. It significantly increases the difficulty of the high-quality web crawling and thus the efficiency of Web search. The apply of the various SEO tricks increases not only the load of the webmasters but also the load of Web sense disambiguation. This new announcement simply shows that such a problem has been so severe that these major Web search players have to sit together and figure out a common platform to solve it for the sake of everybody.
Second, it is unusual for us seeing the three rivals sitting together so peacefully, especially between Google and Microsoft in the field of Web search, in the recent few years. If I use the eye as a historian to look at this unusual case, I would make a brutal claim that it is the sign that the peak of the glory of the traditional Web search engines (certainly including Google) has been passed. From now on, they can only walk downhill. Typically, the reach of a critical standard in a field represents the complete mature of the field. After the complete mature, the only thing left is decaying gradually.
Third, this method is not the ultimate solution. Certainly, however, the adoption of Schema.org may ease the problem at some level. But it will not hold for long time. The real problem beneath is the debate whether machines can truly replace humans in answering genuine questions. Most of the regular questions, such as what will be the weather in Philadelphia next Wednesday, are certainly answerable through the optimization of the automated Web search methods. The others, such as what should I do when visiting Philadelphia, are essentially not answerable by machines because the understanding of "I" is so profound that even humans may not really know each other. To this type of questions, social search is not the solution either. We need some totally new invention to address them. The traditional search engines can only help us to the certain point and such a point has already been very close to us. The initiation of Schema.org may lay that landmark 1000 miles further. But that is all about it.
The last but not the least, it is not such an exciting news to the Semantic Web community. By Schema.org, the big three formally claims the support to microdata instead of RDF/RDFa. To the non-technicians, they may not feel much about the difference. To the Semantic Web technicians, however, it is a major loss because from now on more swing players are going to leave the more complicated RDF behind their back and embrace the simpler (of course less powerful, however) microdata. It is a major loss for competing into the field of real economy. Maybe eventually RDF may still win the battle. But it will take more years. And, everybody knows, timing to a Web technology is very critical!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
"Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
In Chinese translation (但以理书 2)
This is a well-known prophecy in Bible. In general, it tells the four nations that must rise in the history since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. There is, however, a question. If the purpose of the dream is only to foresee the coming of the four nations that were going to rule the world, there are many other ways God can illustrate it. Instead, however, God had used such an image (or statue) for the illustration. Because of the greatness of HIS wisdom, it is fair for us to guess that the image as total must also contain some message that God wants us to know.
I compare the image to the image in Genesis 1 in which it tells that mankind was made according to the image of God. Thus we get a few interesting and illuminating contrasts between the two images. To make the presentation simpler, we call mankind the God's image and the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream devil's image.
God's image is made by clay and clay only. Clay is the cheapest material in the world. Due to the breath of life, however, the creatures in this image are able to be the master of the world and be loved by all the other creatures of God.
Devil's image, on the other hand, is made by all kinds of precious materials such as gold and silver. Despite of these more "valuable" building materials, the image is terrifying. It stands by cruel power (iron leg), is strengthened by weapons (bronze belly), manages the behaviors using money (silver arms), and eventually intends to grasp all the honors to itself (gold head).
The ultimate goal of God's image is to glorify God. The ultimate goal of devil's image is to glorify Satan.
We can only choose one of the two images to follow. All of us are born in God's image. Before we may follow Jesus Christ, however, all of us live in devil's image. Without power, we feel belonging to the low class and thus are shy to even stand in front of people. Without weapon, we feel no strength to fight. Without money, we do not know how to do a thing. And ultimately, we are eager to holding any pieces of little glory to ourselves. The statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream exactly reveals the real image of people who do not live in Jesus Christ.
LORD Jesus, may I be blessed not following the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. I was made in clay and you are the potter. I am not made by gold, silver, bronze, or iron. Without you, I have no value. With you, however, I become invaluable.
May this blessing be with all the other people who follows you, my LORD!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Earth and sky will be destroyed, but the words I have said will never be destroyed. No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.
In Chinese translation (马太福音 24)
There are many man-made predictions about the date when the world will be end. The most recent date is yesterday, May 21, 2011. Obviously it has been proved false. Two thousands years ago, our LORD Jesus Christ had already told that no humans, even including the only son of God when he was in the human body, would know the date. Therefore, it is unsurprising at all that we may laugh at whoever makes such kind of claims.
But ... Why would it have happened again and again when we know the predictions must be wrong?
One consequence is that many people start to not believe the coming of the end of the world at all. When we say that nobody can predict the exact date when the world is end, it is not equivalent to that the world will not end at one day. The trick Satan plays here is to repeat an obvious lie so that people may be tired of the truth beneath the lie. Sure, when someone says that the world will end at any particular day, it must be a lie. But, when it says that the world will end soon though nobody knows the exact date, it is a truth! Satan does not want people to know such a truth. So he twisted it a little bit and made an obvious lie. Then he repeatedly allows people revealing the lie in order to make us question the truth.
In recent days, I saw so many programs that make joke of the end of the world due to the obvious incorrectly predicted date. I feel sad of these people because they do not know what they were saying. May God be merciful to them and allow them seeing the truth that was hidden to them by Satan.
LORD Jesus, however, I wish you come soon!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
In Chinese Translation (诗篇 39:12)
Somebody said before. To a Christian, if the world does not feel strange about you, you must have been strange because you are supposed to be a stranger.
It is, however, tough to be a stranger in any circumstance. By being a stranger, you have few friends. You feel lonely. And often you lose the energy on going forward.
But we have God. This is the fundamental difference between us and the strangers the world usually think. Because of our LORD, we have hope, since HE always listen to our beg and answer our appealing.
Therefore, I am proud being a stranger because of my God, my savior, my best friend, and my true love. May all the strangers of the world because of Jesus Christ be comfort! As we always have been.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
In Chinese Translation(路得记 1)
16 路得说：不要催我回去不跟随你。你往哪里去，我也往那里去；你在哪里住宿，我也在那里住宿；你的国就是我的国，你的 神就是我的 神。
Today is Mother's Day. One of the greatest woman and mother Bible recorded is Ruth the Moabite, the grand grandmother of King David. She was not a born Israelite. To the end, however, she was remembered by God as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).
You do not need to be born great. You do not need to be born right. You even do not need to be born blessed.
The only thing that you must do is to pursue the great, the right, and the blessed after you were born.
Ruth was born as a Moabite. When she passed away, however, she had been one of the true Israelite among all the Israelite. There were no secrets. "Your people will be my people and your God my God." There are no other prays greater than this one.
It is simple. It is straightforward. In thousands of years of human history, however, there is only one Ruth.
May all of our sisters be the daughters of Ruth!
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."
In Chinese Translation (路加福音 12)
There are three types of people who seek God.
The first type are who look for the abundance of possessions. They heard that God blessed whoever follow HIM. Therefore, they expect the same abundance of possessions by self-claiming themselves being the God-followers. If, however, they do not get what they expect, very easily they quit the "faith" because to the end what they look for is the abundance of possessions in this world.
Look out! Many self-claimed Christians are in this category.
The second type are who look for the eternal life and wish to bring the wealth they earn in this world to the eternity. Many of these people are really good persons. They are hard working persons. They may live with high standard morality every day. They are the models many of us used to ask our kids to follow. But ... they do not really know God because what they truly value is still the things except God himself. What they really appreciate is to forever hold the things they own now by their "hard work". To them, believe in God is only a way to reach such a goal rather than truly eager to being with God.
The last type of the people are who truly look for God beyond anything else. It is God that we seek. Except God, nothing may satisfy my heart. And I wish such a eagerness also be your priority!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
"'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
In Chinese Translation (路加福音 16)
There is nothing else I can say. The world today is exactly what Abraham answered to the rich man. Although Jesus had risen from the dead, "they will not be convinced". By contrast, they simply deny the truth.
They will see if they expect to watch. They will know if they want to learn. They will hear if they pay attention to listening.
But they do not.
Abraham told the truth. Blessed are the ones who follow the truth!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In Chinese Translation (约翰福音 14)
Many times we hate "only". Only is exclusive. Only means that deprivation of the freedom of choice. Why don't we have another way toward God?
To be with God one must have no sin. We have shared previously that one cannot do good to redeem his own mistakes. But can we just live without sin? There are a few other options.
1. Restart. If a previous generation becomes full of sin, how about we rip off it and totally restart freshly a new generation with pure spirit?
Actually, in the Book of Genesis, God did it with flood. All people except the family of Noah, a godly family, were buried by the flood. The rest of the story told us, however, that the children of the godly parents quickly left the way of their parents and were away from God.
So, God proved it to us that this first option did not work.
2. Education. Probably people commit sin because they do not know. If they know what is sin and what is not, if they can be educated, they will not commit sin again.
So, God chose a godly man and gave him a name Abraham, for him being the father of many nations. God taught Abraham and his children the law of God with the clear statements. Everybody then knew what were right and what were wrong. Everybody then knew how great the blessings for the righteousness and how big the curses for the sin. But what was the result? The Israelites jumped to the curses as fast as they could.
Again, God proved it to us that the second option did not work either.
3. Love with great patience. Maybe, God must allow us to learn the lessons slowly. Even though we were given the laws, it may take long time for us to really understand and then follow the laws.
So, God sent many prophets to the Israelites in several centuries of time. Every prophet told the Israelites one and only one message: turn back toward God and you live; otherwise you die. The result? Greater and greater the Israelites run away from God. They killed the prophets and laughed at God.
God proved it to us that the third option also did not work.
Is there another option for saving these people who run their best to die? Due to his mercy, yes, there is the last and the only way. God came to the world. HE died for our sin and let anyone who believes and accepts the redemption live with HIM. This is why Jesus Christ is the only way.
May you accept and follow this only way!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
In Chinese Translation (诗篇 1)
The wicked do not know God. The sinners know God but do not treat God as their God. The mockers seemly respect God but in reality call HIM out in derision. These three types of people are not blessed. It is not that God does not want to bless them. The wicked do not believe God's blessing. The sinners do not look for God's blessing. The mockers treat God's blessing with contempt.
The blessed ones are different.
The blessed are bound to the law of Lord. They become truly happy under the law and because of the law. They think of the law day and night. The law of God declares the punishment to whom disobey but blesses whom obey it because Jesus Christ has paid debt of law for anyone who follows him. The punishment chapters in the law are abandoned. All of the remains are blessing.
The blessed are "like a tree planted by streams of water". In the original scripture, more precisely, it says that the blessed are like "a tree transplanted by irrigation channels". Some of us may be originally planted by God such as John the Baptist. Most of us, however, are transplanted by God because at the beginning we were born in desert where no living water flows. It is God who made the channels on dry land. Then HE also transplanted us close to the channels so that we are irrigated by the living water.
Every one of these trees is a tree of life. The fruit, which is always yielded in season, is a forever life. The leaves, each single of which never withers, are the demonstration of the evergreen living. To these people, whatever they do prospers! This is God's promise. I believe it. And wish you who read this message be blessed by this promise too!
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because "the righteous will live by faith."
In Chinese translation (加拉太书 3)
Often people claim themselves being a good man. If they are asked about the bad things they did, a regular answer is that they have also done a lot of good things, which number is much greater than the number of the bad things they have done. So they are good people.
I do not know why many people accept this excuse. May we redeem ourselves by doing good? When one did a bad thing (unnecessary a crime, only something that is not good), can he redeem the mistake by doing another 10 good things?
Only if one has extra he can then use it for redeeming the shortage. For example, by law one must work eight hours a day. Today John only worked 7 hours. So he may redeem his today's shortage by working one extra hour, i.e. totally 9 hours, tomorrow. On the other hand, if by law it is said that everyone must work 24 hours a day and John worked only 23 hours today. He will never have a chance to redeem that one-hour shortage no matter how hard he tries in the future. He will never get a chance of an "extra" hour for the redemption.
The same is to our sins. In this world, is there anything that is too good to be "extra good"? No. There is nothing in this world that is too good to be extra. It means that no matter what good one does, such a good makes no extra credit for redeeming any tiny mistake he made before. No one can solve a bad by doing good.
Then how can we deal with a mistake we made before? There are only two ways.
The first solution is taking the consequence. If one is fairly punished with respect to the mistake he made, the problem is solved. He shall have no further guilty at all for what he has done since he has already been fairly punished.
The second solution is being forgiven. John hit Mary. But Mary forgives John. Then John's problem is solved. He shall have no guilty of that bad behavior later.
There are no other solutions to our sins.
If the wages of sin is death, however, nobody can afford the first solution. Therefore, the forgiveness from God becomes the only path we can take for redeeming our sins. And this is why Jesus Christ is the only path and solution for anyone who really wants to be a good man.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
She is said "the last star" in the world. Engaged the naturally born beauty and the afterward developed wisdom, Elizabeth Taylor owned nearly everything a woman (or even any human being) might dream. But still she passed away in the last week. What left behind her are plenty; what brought away with her were little. So, if even a star like Elizabeth Taylor, who lived and enjoyed whatever she wanted during her life, left the world like this, what does it mean as being alive?
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
In Chinese Translation (马太福音 16)
Why do we live?
If there is no afterlife, why don't we simply enjoy this life unlimited? Where does morality come? Why are we taught to be generous and self-sacrifice? All of them simple make no sense at all if we have only one life and it is done afterward.
And therefore it says, "Every man for himself, Heaven and Earth will destroy".
To the other, who believe afterlife, what are you doing now for your future?
May Elizabeth slept in peace.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
A massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46 pm on March 11 (JST) causing various damages in Japan. Sincerely I wish the Japanese people be recovered from this natural disaster soon.
The earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear threat following show us how vulnerable humans are when facing the natural disasters. The disaster makes us think again an old question---what do the natural disasters mean to the rest of us? We ought to help the Japanese people now. At the same time, however, ourselves must also learn from the tragedy. To the end, the natural disasters do not distinguish who live in Japan from who live in anywhere else in the world.
Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
In Chinese Translation(路加福音 13)
The disaster occurred in Japan is a disaster of mankind. What Japanese are suffering is a suffering to all of us. The inspiration behind the disaster is a revelation to all human beings. Although we may belong to different races and follow different cultures, although in history or at present between us there may be many rivalries and the conflicts of interest, we are on earth the same type of being fragile, being helpless, being imperfect, and suffering the daily painfulness. Indistinguishably God has given us sunlight and air, sea and land, water and food. All of these are to make us realize that we are ultimately one family under the same roof. Therefore, we ought to go to help the brothers and sisters in Japan. This is the right thing we must do.
If there is God, one may question, how could the merciful allow such a catastrophic event happen? Nobody may know the full answer to the question. But the quoted Luke (13:4-5) provides us a few insightful hints.
The situation described in Luke 13:4-5 was similar to what is happening in Japan. Although the scope of the latter one is much greater, the essence of the question is the same. Why did it happen if there is God? In Bible, Jesus did not answer it directly either. By contrast, he said, "But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
The reason of the natural disasters must be very complicated. Certainly all of us are the sinners comparing to the complete goodness of God. The question is, however, that why some are "punished" by the natural disasters while the others are not. Isn't it unfair? Nobody can claim that the ones who died in the earthquake or in the tsunami are worse than us who still live. By contrast, many of them may be very good according to our own standards. Many of them can be much better than some of us still living. The answer from Jesus thus deserves us more attention to thinking of its deeper meaning beyond the explicit expression.
In his speech, Jesus did not deny that the disaster was caused by sin. The Bible says that the whole world was cursed because of our sin. Be alerted, however, it is about all of us but not just about who are killed in any tragedy. By this mean, Jesus totally denied the accuse that God intentionally killed this group of people by a natural disaster because of "their" sin. On the contrary, many places in the Bible it tells that God save people from the upcoming disasters because of HIS love.
Second, Jesus pointed out that the tragedy reminding us to repent. The ones who suffered the disasters were not only due to their own sin but also because of our sin. This is a very powerful message. By this mean without excuse we have to help these people. It is not because of our kindness. It is due to our responsibility since we are part of the reason why they suffered or even died. The Bible tells that we are fortunately still alive only because God does not permit the disasters killing us all.
Hence, based on the Bible, we have a very different view of the natural disasters.
1) We sin; hence there come the natural disasters.
2) The natural disasters want to kill all of us since nobody is not a sinner.
3) God loves us and hence HE does not allow all of us being killed.
4) Some of us, however, still are killed because the natural disasters must happen unless we do not sin (which is impossible).
5) For the ones who are not involved in the natural disasters, we must repent in contrast to celebrate because we must know that they who died were died for us who still live. They who suffered are suffering for us who apparently do not suffer. We have to help them because it is our responsibility instead of our mercifulness or kindness. By doing so sincerely we prove that we do repent.
The last but not the least, God gives life and can resurrect people from death. Therefore, the hope still preserves even if the life of someone is taken by a natural disaster.
May all of us loved more to each other by learning lessons from this catastrophe!
May God blessed all the people, not only the Japanese, who are suffering or were suffered in the natural disasters! Wish them be recovered from the catastrophe soon. May all of us who still live and being away from all these sufferings repent and turn ourselves back towards God so that there will be less and less natural disasters in this world! In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, March 14, 2011
iPad applications are not just for fun. They can be serious.
Recently Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. (where I work now) announced a prototype of Synapse® Mobility, which allows users remotely access to Fujifilm's Synapse solution. Impressively, users can use their iPad to show the radiology images and the other related medical information anywhere in the world. It significantly improves the quality of patient care by allowing faster decision making and more convenient access to the patient's varied medical records. This is a great achievement to improve the quality of individual healthcare generally.
Besides iPad, I was told that the Synapse® Mobility solution would also be available in iPhone and the mobile devices equipped with the Android™ OS.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
In Chinese Translation (马太福音 7):
This post is my own testimony on how I became a Christian. The story is long but immersed by the amazing grace coming from the holy spirit. May God blessed every reader as if I was blessed in the story!
The toughest challenge in this world is to let a person accept Jesus. Instinctively we do not want to do so because Jesus asks us to leave what we are used to and be away from what we enjoy but to go forward to seeking a totally different mean of life that by "nature" we are not able to take.
I was born in China, an atheist nation. From childhood I was taught that there were no gods in the world and it depended on ourselves to make the world better and better. Such a teaching sounded very exciting to me, and to many of us too I believe. We are the masters of the world and we can determine anything by ourselves. What else can be greater than that? But, is it true really?
Once I opened a book titled The Holy Bible. In the first line of the first page it says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Almost immediately I threw the book away. Such a stupid book! I thought. God? How could the world have a god, and indeed, who needs a god? Can anyone show me a god? Certainly nobody can. And, more importantly, I told to myself: we do not need god at all to rule us.
Then I came to United States as a foreign student in graduate school. And I became a regular visitor to a local Chinese Christian church. Don't get me wrong, however, I went to the church only for the food. Chinese people like to eat Chinese food. The local Chinese church provided the attendants free but well-cooked Chinese food every Friday night and Sunday noon. As a new and poor Chinese student in America, this offer was very appealing to me. Therefore I went to the church regularly but just for the food. Some time, however, I also attended the Bible study and even the Sunday morning worship for showing my appreciation of the food. Sincerely I told the pastor of the Chinese church, however, "You Christians are good people. But you are fooled by things that can never be true."
"You will see," proudly I declared to a friend, "after the last person in this world who becomes Christian, there is still me."
Thank God, however, HE did not give me up though seemly I had totally given HIM up.
One day another friend handed me two books---认识真理 (Recognizing the truth) and 游子吟 (Song of a Wanderer) and asked me to read. Both books are about the gospel. I was surprised because the friend was not a Christian yet. So we had the following conversation.
"Why do you want me to read the books?" I asked.
"I feel nervous," he answered. "the books are so convincing that I feel I am going to be Christian soon."
I laughed at him. "Pity." I said.
"Well, I may help you." I continued, "But, you know, it must NOT be the truth. We study science and we know how to prove or disprove things. Therefore, I will show you why the teaching in these books must only be false truth. Actually there are only two ways people may adopt to establish a false truth. The first way is using the false or the unrelated evidence in proving. The second way is using the methodology of sophism. Either way, however, I will show you why the arguments in the books must be wrong."
With great confidence, I brought the two books back home and started reading. It was the Christmas time. So I had plenty of time in reading. I told to myself: I am smart enough to catch this false truth. It was this self-pride that drove me deep into reading these Christian books. Only when later on I thought of this story again, I realized that how merciful God is. By using my own self-pride of fighting against God, God made me know HIM the first time. How Great Thou Art!
After I opened the book, a chapter title caught my attention. The title was "耶稣基督复活的证据(The evidence on the Resurrection of Jesus)". Aha! I told to myself. This was it! How could resurrection be true? Of course it must be wrong and I would catch the tail of the author immediately.
Carefully I started reading the chapter. And then ... I was shocked.
If only I was honest to myself, I could not deny the proof in the chapter. It was not a scientific proof by the rigid mean. But it was a strong-enough historical proof. As the author said in the book, any other historical event must have already been widely accepted as a truth in history even if the evidence was weaker than we had for this one. But many of us still did not accept it only because we did not WANT to accept the result.
It was in that night that I started thinking of Jesus and the Bible seriously the first time in my life. In the night I committed my lack of knowledge about Jesus and Christianity. I realized that I must not self-boasting but started being humble to learn what I did not know. With such a new emotion, I opened the Bible again. Surprisingly, this time I was able to read beyond the first line.
In the next two weeks, I read the Bible thoroughly three times. I was overtaken by the great wisdom the book discloses. I am a thinker myself. Hence it was breathtaking when I found a much much greater wise person standing in front of me and speaking. Totally I surrendered. "No humans may author a book like this one," I told to myself.
The wisdom itself, however, was not enough to make me be a Christian. But it was then the starting point of my seeking to God.
The biggest obstacle from seeking God is human's unwillingness of repentance. I heard many complaints that God never respond. People told me that they sought but never found. It is because the seeking without repentance is hopeless. It is not because God do not want to help people. It is because the holiness cannot stay together with sin. Fortunately, repentance is not a problem to me.
I knew I was a sinner before I knew Jesus. What I truly took care was just myself and nobody else. How could such a person not a sinner? But nearly all people around me thought I was a very good young man. And it was not surprising at all since they were the same type of persons as me. By addressing me a good person it indicated they were good too. This was, is, and still will be the world we live. I was, however, honest to myself; and thus I knew indeed I was not good. Therefore, I had few resistance when I was told that I needed to repent. In front of God, I confessed that I was a sinner and needed salvation.
The repentance, however, did not make me accept Jesus. The logic is straightforward. That I was a sinner did not derive to that Jesus is God or even God do exist. Hence I questioned God: how could I truly know you? Like Thomas the Apostle I fought against God by demanding the observable evidence about HIM.
And the following was my pray:
God, I do not know whether you exist. To my heart, however, I do wish you existed since I need salvation. But I cannot believe it unless I could have an undeniable evidence. You are God. I do not know how to reach you. I even do not know which evidence I need to convince myself. But if you are real, you must know how to reach me and make me believe. And thus please show me because I do look forward to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.
Three times a day, I insisted on the pray for a month. And God answered.
It was February 26, 1998, Thursday.
An older sister in Christ (Sister Pan) invited me to do Bible study in her home at that night. At the meantime, she lived in Kent, Ohio. I was a graduate student in University of Akron. There was a half-an-hour highway drive between my school and her home. I replied her with yes. I just bought a used 1984 Honda Accord with $1400, more than half of the money I owned at the moment. I had, however, a class to attend at that night till 7:30 PM. Therefore, I told Sister Pan that I would arrive at her place at about 8:00 PM. So far everything seemed just normal.
In the morning of that day, however, abnormal things happened. February 26, 1998, the day was destined to be abnormal to me because it was the day I reborn.
In the morning when I came to school, many Chinese students were talking about a free movie that was going to be displayed in the student theater inside the campus. Free movies were not abnormal for UA students. Every semester there were a few free movies in campus, some of which were the movie previews. Anyway, be very honest I had totally forgotten the name of the free movie in that night. But very clearly I remembered how enthusiastic many of the Chinese students were in that day talking about the movie. It was said that the movie was fantastic! The movie would be displayed in the campus theater at 9:30 PM.
After I came to the campus, very abnormal things started happening around me. During the day, there were four groups (which means more than one in each group) of Chinese students who came to invite me for the movie. It was very abnormal because before and after the day I got none movie invitations at all though there were several other free movie nights. More weirdly, each group told me differently about the fascinating of that movie. Some told me that the story was great; some told me that the director was great; some told me that the actors and actresses were great; and some told me that the movie contained some well-shot porn scenes that was great. It was sounded to me that the movie must be the greatest ever.
In the beginning I was not moved. At the end, however, I hesitated. Although politely I refused their invitation with the excuse of a conflicted appointment, secretly I went to get a movie ticket and hided it in my pocket. And the following was my perfect plan of the night.
7:30 Class end, drive to Sister Pan's home
8:00 Arrive at Sister Pan's home, start Bible Study
9:00 Bible Study end, drive back
9:30 Back to school, watch movie
A perfect plan, isn't it?
About 6:30 PM when my last class of the day started, I was told that all the movie tickets were gone and there were still many students outside asking who had extra to share. "Very weird," I told to myself because so long as I knew the free movie tickets had never run out before. With satisfaction I held the secret ticket in my pocket. At 7:30 PM, I started the car and the exciting night.
Before joining the highway, I pushed the acceleration pedal and a problem occurred immediately. No matter how hard I pushed the pedal, the car could not be accelerated over 30 mph. The automatic transmission stopped working.
Beside the road there was a large parking lot. At that time of the day, the parking lot was empty. And thus I drove the car into the parking lot and started checking the car. After having tried all I knew, the car still could not be accelerated over 30 mph. Finally I gave up. It looked like that God wanted me to watch movie, I laughed at myself. Then I drove back school.
In front of me, there was a red light and I stopped my car. At the very moment, a question caught me from nowhere (later on I believe that it was from God).
"What do you really want tonight, Bible study or the movie?"
It was weird that I was not worried about my car at all at the time despite it meant the lost of a huge percentage of my money at the meantime. At the time in my mind, there was only this question.
Suddenly a voice emerged from somewhere deep inside myself. "Bible study", it cried, "I am not interested in that dumb movie." I knew it was me who answered though it must be some deep me in contrast to the superficial myself. And then, the light turned green. And then, I pushed the acceleration pedal. And then, the speed meter showed over 30 mph. I took a look at the clock in the car. It was 7:57 PM.
I stopped the car and was stunned. What happened and what should I do in the next? Let's review my original plan. Now it was about 8:00 PM. If I insisted on the original plan, it would be as the following.
8:00 Drive to Sister Pan's home
8:30 Arrive at Sister Pan's home, start Bible Study
9:00 Bible Study end, drive back
9:30 Back to school, watch movie
Obviously the plan became unrealistic since half an hour was too short for a Bible study. It meant that I had to choose 1 among the two. Either might I go to study Bible or I could go for watching movie. More importantly, at the time I had a very excusable reason for not attending the Bible study---my car had problem. The past half an hour was real. The problem was real. It would be disaster if I insisted on driving to Bible study but the car was broken in the half way highway at the night. The perfect excuse was simply laid in front of me. I was tempted not to go for the Bible study.
Just at the moment, however, the same voice inside me cried out again---"I will go for the Bible study!" And so it be. Suddenly I believed that my car had no problem at all without any reason. I just believed it. And then I turned around my car again forward to the highway.
I remembered the following very clearly. Just at the moment when the front tires of my car touched the surface of the highway, I experienced the most exciting moment in my life till now. Just at the moment, a great deal of joyfulness and peacefulness was poured down from heaven and immersed me. It was like a huge bottle of oil poured on the head and running down to the heel. In Pslam 133:2, it says,
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
This verse describes exactly the same type of feeling I had at the moment.
There are no words in this world that can describe precisely that feeling. In this world the greatest joyfulness and the greatest peacefulness are actually not harmoniously existed. When one is very very happy and excited, she is unlikely very much peaceful since her blood is burning. In similar, when one is with the greatest peacefulness, she feels calm and safe but must not in the greatest excitement simultaneously. The co-existence of the greatest happiness and the greatest peacefulness is like that the sea is with the greatest storm but at the same time there are no tiny waves on its surface. It was unreal. Or, more precisely, I had experienced something that is truly surreal!
The joyfulness and peacefulness from heaven were with me for not just a minute, but the entire half an hour journey. I do not know how to express my feeling in that half an hour. The only thing I could tell was, when finally I stopped my car, knocked the door, and saw Sister Pan, I told her: "Today, I believe." And the feeling stopped.
What can I say?
In Bible, it says "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20).
My story, however, tells that if only one can have faith that is greater than a free movie ticket, she can see the evidence of God. What is the value of a free movie ticket? Zero. Or maybe 0.01 cent at most. And that is the amount of faith God ask man to have in order to see HIM.
This is my testimony. Wish you had this blessing from my Lord as well!
About my 1984 Honda Accord. It did not have any problem at all since that night until Sister Pan moved to another city, which was more than half a year later. In particular, the transmission of the car had never encountered a problem. Several years later I gave the car free to a friend and he drove it to California.