Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Letters to Little Richard #5 What's Your God Given Purpose?

Dear little Richard,

            You want to be a godly man, don’t you? Well, part of becoming God’s man is figuring out what God wants you to do – and doing it. I mean, find God’s purpose for your life. I know… it isn’t always easy to discover God’s plans. Why? Because God’s purposes aren’t always clear as you might like; sometimes God speaks in a quiet voice when you’re alone, sometime through books that you read, sometimes through friends and people in general, and most of the time through His living Word, the Bible. “I will instruct you and show you the way to go,” God’s promises, “with My eye on you, I will give counsel” (Psalm 32:8).

            In doing so I don’t want you to be in such a hurry [also] to understand God’s unfolding plan for your life. Remember that God operates according to a perfect timetable. That timetable is His, not ours. Be passionate about it and at the same time – be patient. I believe, my little brother that God has big things in store for you, but such a good God that He is, He may have quite a few lessons to teach you before you are fully prepared to do His will and fulfil His purpose in your life. I like what Beth Moore writes, “Only God’s chosen task for you will ultimately satisfy. Do not wait until it is too late to realize the privilege of serving Him in His chosen position for you.”   

             May you genuinely try to figure out God’s purpose for your life. If so, you can be sure that with God’s help, you will eventually discover it. And when you discover His plans for you, you’re in for an exciting ride!                       

I found mine,
And many more to discover,

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Simple Book Review: Alan M. Turing, A Biography

Alan M. Turing (first published 1959) by Sara Turing

English mathematician, logician, cryptographer (code-breaker) and founder of computer science, Alan Mathison Turing is not doubt a genius! I came to know about this man when I browsed through Walter Isaacson’s latest book The Innovators (2014), a story of the people who created the computer and the Internet that included Alan Turing as one of the leading thinkers that created our current digital revolution. Then I was introduced again to Alan’s life in a movie The Imitation Games (2014) loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges [Alan is played by Benedict Cumberbatch a.k.a. Marvel’s Dr. Strange!]. So, when I found this book in the library, I straightaway borrow it!

This is a 2012 Centenary Edition. Sara Turing, the author, is Alan Turing’s mother. Alan is her younger son and John Turing is her eldest son. “Sara Turing,” comments Martin Davis in the forward, “failed to understand [Alan] on so many levels, wrote this remarkable biographical essay. She carefully pieced together his school reports, copies of his publications, and comments on his achievements by experts.” To me this book is a bit bias, I can feel it as I read it – mother’s touch is always kinder – and I agreed that “she was trying to fit [Alan] into a framework that reveals more about her and her social situation than it does about him.” Alan’s brother, John wrote in the afterward can only be described as a rebuttal of his mother's account. Sara is so optimistic about Alan; John think otherwise. Sara tried to make Alan look good and socialiable; but John said that he was a bit weird and absent-minded.

Nevertheless, Sara Turing’s aim for this book is clear, it’s not about exhausted detail accounts but “to trace from early days the development of a mathematician and scientist of great originality.”

Highlights about Alan M. Turing: As a child he was very energetic, clever, very good with words, adventurous, love sports, curious and had his own lab to do experiments. He studied at Cambridge and then Princeton. During the World War II he worked in the Foreign Office (where he and other code-breakers cracked German ‘Enigma’ code). After the War, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory Teddington, and also with the Manchester Automatic Digital Machine. In 1937, Alan published the paper On Computable Numbers which as much as any single event can be seen as the start of the modern computer age (where his proposed ‘The Turing Machine’). He published another paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence in 1950 which introduced his famous the ‘Turing Test.’ The test continues to play a big part in debates about Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Sadly, Turing died at 41. Sara thought of his death as ‘an accident’. She writes, “Many friends, either by reason of his temperament and recent good spirits… have been led to believe that his death was caused by some unaccountable misadventure. Besides, his inadvertence alone had always involved the risk of an accident.” But Martin Davis and John Turing suspected otherwise. Martin writes, “There is a reason to believe that Alan did take his life” by staged suicide, biting a “deadly cyanide apple.” Very likely, this version is more accurate. In memory of her son’s death and great accomplishments, she endowed the Alan Turing Prize of Science to be awarded annually at Sherborne School.

[P.s: Alan Turing is thought to have committed suicide shortly after his conviction for a homosexual offence, still criminalized at the time. His mother may or may not knew of this, she doesn’t record it clearly in her biography. “I believe it was here, perhaps in the first four or five years at the Wards, perhaps even in the first two,” John Turing recalled, “that Alan became destined for a homosexual.”]


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Letters to Little Richard #4 Work Hard as Something Done for the Lord

Dear little Richard,

            In a world where easy-money is promoted online and you can be muscular just by drinking drink in one week without exercise, don’t forget the old way of getting things done: work hard. I mean work hard in your vocation, doing it promptly and doing it well. As the Scriptures say, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

            Rich, God has created a world in which generally hard work is rewarded and sloppy work is not. Yet sometimes, you may be tempted to seek ease over excellence, or you may be tempted to take shortcuts when God intends that you walk the straight and narrow path. There are times when shortcuts and pragmatic ways are good and harmless – but not always. Work hard is always right and in fact a blessing by itself. “The world does not consider labour a blessing, therefore it flees and hates it,” writes Martin Luther, “but the pious who fear the Lord labour with a great and cheerful heart, for they know God’s command, and they acknowledge His calling.” Be an industrious worker in God’s field in this world “as something done for the Lord.”

            Work hard. Wherever you find yourself – whether at work, home, school, university, or anyplace in between – give it your best. When you do, you will most certainly win the recognition and respect of your peers (either they like you or not). But most importantly, God will bless your efforts and use you in ways that only He can understand. So, my dear brother, do your work with focus and dedication. Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hands find to do, do with [all] your strength”….and leave the rest up to God.

Read the Bible, God doesn’t use lazy people you know,
With brotherly love,


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