Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Devotional on New Year's Eve

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I don’t know how you feel on this last day of 2008. Many were glad that 2008 finally comes to an end. They hope to bury all the bad memories of this year forever. Yes. We all look forward to a brighter new year to come. We hope we will not repeat our mistakes or failures. Unfortunately, this world will repeat her failures if she does not recognize her sinfulness according to the sovereign word of God. The Bible says, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:21-22, 25). Unless mankind returns back to God, our hope for a brighter future is still dime; we will continue to repeat our failure of the past, and we will continue to live in our current turmoil or even worse.

Let’s meditate on this promise of God for His children on this last day of 2008: “You will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12). Three things Chambers had observed in this passage and shared in his devotional:

Security from Yesterday: "The God of Israel will be your rear guard." At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God's grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays (He is our rear guard), and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.

Security for To-morrow: "For the Lord will go before you." This is a gracious revelation that God will be the stronghold at where we have failed. He will watch lest things trip us up again into similar failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rear guard. God's hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing-house for our conscience.

Security for To-day: "You will not leave in haste or go in flight." As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of recklessness, shallow delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreversible things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities, which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, or let it rests in God’s hands.

Leave the Irreversible Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.

Have a blessed New Year to come and enjoy a great adventure of faith with your beloved Father!

Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Devotional 301208

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. Thanks for praying for our Missions Conference. We had a wonderful gathering to see and hear the work of God throughout the world. I wished that you all were there with us. Our speakers were all international level and had great missions experiences. They did not only share with us their knowledge in missions but their heart and life experience. Loretta and I had learnt a great deal, and our hearts were challenged by the Presence of God. We re-dedicated ourselves to serve our Lord of Missions in whatever capacity that He desires to use us. After all, this is the kind of new life that we are called to live through His Grace.

Our Lord never patches up our natural virtues, He re-makes the whole man on the inside. "Put on the new man," i.e., see that your natural human life puts on the garb that is in keeping with the new life. The life that God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ. Watch how God will wither up your confidence in natural virtues after sanctification, and in any power you have, until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through a drying-up experience!

The sign that God is at work in us is that He corrupts confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but remnants of what God created man to be. We will cling to the natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us into contact with the life of Jesus Christ, which can never be described in terms of the natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people in the service of God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them, depending on what they have by the accident of heredity. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life, which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.

As we are preparing for the coming of a new year, let’s learn to put on this new Life in Christ – seek not to depend on our old self but depending on His grace each day.

Have a blessed new year to come.

Love you in Christ,

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Missions conference at Sharaton Hotel

This is the first Chinese missions conference ever held in the Bay Area. Even though we only had less than two hundreds participants, we hope it marks a beginning of a new era among Chinese churches. We have speakers came as far as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Devotional 261208

Dear brothers and sisters,
How was your Christmas celebration? I hope you had an enjoyable time to spend with your family and loved ones. Today, I have a day off to rest and run some errant at home. Starting tonight, we are going to have a Missions Conference that will be held at Sharaton Hotel of Burlingame. It is a 4 days conference with participants coming as far as Canada. Pray that the work of the Holy Spirit will stir the fire of His missions among the participating churches and all the Missions organizations, including GOI. Please remember me in your prayers since I will be leading the morning worship and prayer time each day, and do translation for all evening speakers. May God cleanse me of my sins so that I will be available for His use to be a channel of His blessings to all!

The Bible says, "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). To have mistaken ‘conscious freedom from sin’ for ‘deliverance from sin by the Atonement’ is a great error. No man knows what sin is until he is born again. Sin is what Jesus Christ faced on Calvary. The evidence that I am delivered from sin is that I know the real nature of sin in me. It takes the last reach of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that is, the impartation of His absolute perfection, in order to make a man know what sin is (under the light of His Perfection).

The Holy Spirit applies the Atonement to us in the unconscious realm as well as in the realm of which we are totally conscious, and it is only when we get a grasp of the unrivalled power of the Spirit in us that we understand the meaning of 1 John 1:7, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." This does not refer to conscious sin only, but to the tremendously profound understanding of sin which only the Holy Spirit in me realizes.

If I walk in the light as God is in the light, not in the light of my conscience, but in the light of God - if I walk there, with nothing folded up, then there comes the amazing revelation, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin so that God Almighty can see nothing to censure in me. In my consciousness it works with a keen poignant knowledge of what sin is. The love of God at work in me makes me hate with the hatred of the Holy Spirit all that is not in keeping with God's holiness. To walk in the light means that everything that is of the darkness drives me closer into the centre of the light.

O Holy Spirit, help me walk in Your Light as our Triune God is in the Light! The Holiness of God does not only make us avoid carnal sins, but to actively participate in His Goodness and His Perfection as well. This is something beyond what man can accomplish because it is the divine work of the Holy Spirit. We can make our best effort to obey His Word and His guidance. But to participate in His Perfection is the desire and work of the Holy Spirit.

May God grant us the desire to yield to Him in doing what He desires us to do each day and in the year to come!

Love you in Christ,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Devotional on Christmas Day

"Behold, a virgin shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Isaiah 7:14)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are indeed thankful for His Birth in History: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35.) Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from the world. He did not evolve out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being ever born; He is a Being, Who cannot be accounted for by the human race at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate, God coming into human flesh, coming into human history from outside. His life is the Highest and the Holiest entering in at the Lowliest door. Our Lord's birth was an advent.

I am profoundly grateful for His Birth in Me: "…for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you," (Gal. 4:19.) Just as Our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a "Bethlehem" for the Son of God? I cannot enter into the realm of the Kingdom of God unless I am born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. "You must be born again" (John 3:7b). This is not a command, it is a foundation fact. The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.

God manifest in the flesh - that is what is made profoundly possible for you and me by the Redemption to become children of God.

Merry Christmas to you and your kin: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14).

Love you because of this Son of Love,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Devotional 241208

Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is already Christmas Eve. Are you prepared to celebrate the Good News of Christ’s birth? Many are frustrated by either bad weather or bad economy during this Christmas season. To them there may be little reason to celebrate. But this chaotic circumstance is similar to what the first Christmas had. The Bible said in Luke 2, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.” Could you imagine how frantic it could be when masses of people trying to return to their hometown not for Christmas but for Census? I don’t know anybody would be happy for this trip because they were forced to take the hike. These travelers were probably filled with anger and frustrations (just like many who are trapped in airports, train station or bus station by bad weather). And that was also the reason why Joseph could not find a decent room for his wife to give birth. God chose to send His Son into our human history at this chaotic time. Therefore, the first Christmas gift to me symbolizes “Irresistible Peace and Joy in all circumstances.”

The Spirit of God witnesses to the simple almighty security of the life hid with Christ in God and this is continually brought out in the Epistles. We talk as if it were the most uncertain thing to live the sanctified life; it is the most secure thing, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most uncertain thing is to try and live without God. If we are born again it is the easiest thing to live in right relationship to God and the most difficult thing to go wrong, if only we will observe God's warnings and walk in the light.

When we think of being delivered from sin, of being filled with the Spirit, and of walking in the light, we picture the peak of a great mountain, very high and wonderful, and we say - "Oh, but I could never live up there!" But when we do get there by God's grace, we find it is not a mountain peak, but a plateau where there is ample room to live and to grow. "Thou hast enlarged my steps under me."

When you really see Jesus, I dare you to doubt Him. When He says - "Let not your heart be troubled," if you see Him I dare you to trouble your mind, it is a moral impossibility to doubt when He is there. Every time you get into personal contact with Jesus, His words are real. "My peace I give unto you," it is a peace all over from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, an uncontainable confidence. "Your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3), and the serene peace of Jesus Christ is imparted to you.

Emmanuel (God is with us) is what Christmas stands for. “Christ abides in us” is a promised Truth from God. The question is whether we choose to abide in Him or not. While we are busily engaged in shopping or preparation for holiday activities, let’s not forget to abide in Him, and enjoy this serenity of peace that only Christ can offer to each one of us. Especially in this fearful and stressful turmoil of our world, we truly need to abide in His peace and to know for sure that He is in control no matter how bad our circumstance may become.

May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to come. Remember Jesus’ promise in John 10:10b, “I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Devotional 231208

Dear brothers and sisters,
The joy of Christmas does not depend on the atmosphere of the Shopping Center. It depends on a personal and passionate relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord. This relationship with Christ matters the most because our whole spiritual life depends on it.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ always forces an issue of will. Do I accept God's verdict on sin in the Cross of Christ? Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self - to be so identified with Jesus that I am spoilt for every thing else but Him? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Rom 6:5-8).

The great privilege of discipleship is that I can sign on under His Cross, and that means death to sin. Get alone with Jesus and either you tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you, or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death. Immediately you transact in confident faith in what Our Lord did on the Cross; a supernatural identification with His death takes place, and you will know with a knowledge that surpasses human knowledge that your "old man" is crucified with Christ. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ in your daily encountering with the world.

Every now and again, Our Lord lets us see what we would be like if it were not for Himself; it is a justification of what He said - "Without Me you can do nothing." That is why the bedrock of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. We mistake the ecstasy of our first introduction into the Kingdom for the purpose of God in getting us there; His purpose in getting us there is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ during this Christmas season, let us be reminded of the fact that our Lord Jesus is alive and in reign. But does He in reign within our lives? Our live in Christ is the best Christmas gift we can ever receive for eternity. This gift of new life calls for a daily identification with the life and death of Jesus, so that His power of resurrection will transform our old man/woman into a life that glorifies His name. He welcomes you to unwrap and enjoy this Christmas gift daily instead of letting it sit in your closet in the rest of your life.

Have a blessed and lovely day to enjoy His very presence.

Love you in Christ,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Devotional 221208

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for a cold sunny day. Comparing with the weather condition of many places in the Country, we are very blessed with such a nice and beautiful day. Do remember many people who are traveling this week in our prayers. Pray for journey's mercy for some of our coworkers who will be on the road for special missions. May God watch over them and their families. I am sure our Holy Spirit will travel with them whether they go. He is a faithful God and a loving Father who will always watch over His children.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (John 6:44) When God draws me, the issue of my will comes in at once - will I react on the revelation which God gives - will I come to Him? Discussion on such spiritual matters with our human intellect is not appropriate. Never discuss with anyone when God speaks. Belief is not an intellectual act; belief is a moral act whereby I deliberately commit or surrender myself. Will I dump myself down absolutely on God and transact on what He says? If I will, I shall find I am based on a Spiritual Reality that is as sure as God's throne.

In sharing the gospel with others, always push an issue of will. Belief must be the will to believe. There must be a surrender of the will, not a surrender to persuasive power, a deliberate launching forth on God and on what He says until I am no longer confident in what I have done, I am confident only in God. The hindrance is that I will not trust God, but only my mental understanding. As far as feelings go, I must venture out ‘blindly’ or a leap of faith. I must will to believe, and this can never be done without a violent effort on my part to disassociate myself from my old ways of looking at things, and by putting myself right over on to Him.

Every man is made to reach out beyond his grasp. It is God who draws me, and my relationship to Him in the first place is a personal one, not an intellectual one. I am introduced into the relationship by the miracle of God and my own will to believe, then I begin to get an intelligent appreciation and understanding of the wonder of the transaction. Therefore, let faith lead our reason but not the other way around.

We get use to over analyze the will of God before we commit ourselves to venture out by faith to follow. We don’t want to make any ‘unnecessary casualty’ in following God’s will or call. Our concern is: “what if I heard Him wrong?” If my faith was secured in a relationship that was initiated and completed by a faithful God, I don’t need to worry whether I heard Him wrong or not. Even if I did hear Him wrong, He would make it right for me because He is my Heavenly Father who always watches over me at all time.

Start obeying God’s will that clearly reveals in His Word. The more we act in accordance to His Will through His Words, the more we grow in our faith to follow His call in our lives. Our relationship with God is a matter of faith or obedience. It is not an intellectual pursuit but a personal commitment of our will and values. During this difficult time of Economic Tsunami, we need to recognize that it is a testing time of faith in our relationship with this Almighty God.

Love you in our union with God,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas celebration at CPCC

It was good to celebrate Christmas at home church with my beloved brothers and sisters.
Thank you all for giving me the support and love in this spiritual home. May God bless you in this season of love, joy and peace. There is nothing better than to know that we are the beloved children of the Almighty God.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Devotional 191208

It is good to be back home again. Thank you for your prayers and support. I was amazed how well my body had adjusted to jetlag and weather changes. It was totally God’s mercy. I really had a wonderful trip that covers hot and cold weather. If you have followed my journey through my blog closely, you know the kind of experiences I had in the past few weeks. I witnessed God’s work throughout the globe: His work among the young adults in the conference in Malaysia, Christians and pre-Christian friends in Shanghai, Christian workers in Sichuan, young adults in Hong Kong and so forth. God is doing His work and His Kingdom is expanding throughout the world. He is calling His church to join Him in spreading the Good News of Christmas to all nations and tribes. I saw people celebrate Christmas in Muslim and Communist countries. But they did not really understand what Christmas is truly about. People welcome Christmas as a season of gifts and love. They did not realize Christmas also involves repentance and confession.

Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34). Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One. If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing (or sin) he does not intend to give up – “I will admit I have done wrong, but I do not intend to give up that thing or sinful habit.” It is impossible to deal sympathetically with a case like that: we have to get right deep down to the root problem until there is antagonism and resentment against the message because it hits the secret hid out of sins. People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to their cover up problem or sin.

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line: cut down to the very root problem, otherwise there will be no healing at all. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives – they may say, "We never can reach that standard." Then you should drive it home, "Jesus Christ says you must." "But how can we be?" they may reply. "You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit in Christ."

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? It was because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to God Himself – eternal peace that builds upon the Truth of God.

We don’t want to irritate others by telling the truth that people don’t like to hear. We prefer to please than to heal. However, a patient prefers his doctor to tell the truth than to make him happy if he does not feel right. A student prefers his teacher to tell the truth if he makes a mistake, otherwise he will never improve. A sincere person also prefers his genuine friend to tell the truth about his blind spot even though it hurts. A responsible surgeon will cut open the flesh in order to heal a cancer, or cut out a limb in order to save a body from devastation. Jesus said, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matt 18:8-9)

As we celebrate the birth of Christ – the Prince of Peace, let us be reminded the fact that Jesus did not come to bring a temporary peace but an eternal peace on earth. This eternal peace does involves a surgical knife or sword that cut through all lies or hidden sins. Without genuine repentance from sins there will be no genuine happiness and peace on earth or in our lives. I sincerely wish you a merry Christmas that comes with forgiveness of sins, which is a gift that only Christ can offer to mankind.

Love you in Christ,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reunion in Hong Kong

This is such a blessed trip to have reunion with friends and family in Hong Kong of different kinds.
Loretta's highschool reunion (I was the only spouse in a girl school reunion) was the highlight besides the wedding. She has not seen her friends for over 30 years. Sounds of Happiness reunion, Family reunion and visiting with Stephen's new baby were of great fun. This short trip was really packed with a lot of joy. Praise the Lord for His blessings!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hong Kong trip

It is a joyous occasion to celebrate the wedding of Loretta's nephew. They bore great testimony for the Lord. Many were moved to tears as they shared God's blesssings for their lives.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Arrived Hong Kong

Dear brothers and sisters,
Thanks for your prayer. I am back to Hong Kong. Our visit in China was a smooth one, though we did not take our safety measures lightly. The Lord really watched over us in all our activities during that short visit.
It was always touching to see young people committed their lives to serve the Lord. They study hard during weekdays, and go to ground zero of the earthquake zone to serve disaster's victims. These young people looked like anyone of our young career people, except they live a very simple life with little material possessions. However, their lives are so abundant and rich in the Lord. They minister to youth and children in the "tents' city" of ground zero, bringing hope and joy to those young victims (I will put on a new slide show in my blog soon). Many came to know the Lord because of their constant effort. Please pray for the follow up work in that harvest field.
Pray also for the first Winter that the victims will encounter. It was not too bad when we visited the area. But temperature could come down to 1 to 2 degree Ceuceous during Winter time. Pray that they would not see snow, or else their lives will be even more miserable.
The government was very strict in terms of outsiders from going into this area. Christians were closely watched in terms of their activities to share the good news, though they recognize the fact that Christians do bear hope and peace to many who lost everything in life. May God continue to show mercy to our fellow men in Sichuan province.
I will have some preaching ministry in Hong Kong in this coming weekend. If God allows, Loretta and I will be home on December 17. Appreciate your continuous prayer for us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Visit to Chengdu

We visited the temporary housing and boarding school for earthquake victims in Szechuen. Pray that these victims will come to experience the love of God. Praise God that here is Christian ministry and church meeting in this housing area.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sounds of Happiness in concert

After 30 years later, our music team is doing Evangelistic ministry again in Shanghai. A very touching experience to sing with my 'old' teammate on stage. 80 some non-Christians came to our outreach concert. I was told that many were moved to tears by the work of the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 5, 2008

SOH Tour of Shanghai

The original team members of Sounds of Happiness met in Shanghai after 30 years.

One of the oldest river village in Souzhou near Shanghai. It made you feel like walking into history. It is a famous site for filming.

This is West Lake of China. A misty and quiet lake in Honzhou City. My host brought me there for a brief visit. It took almost 3 hours to go from Shanghai.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shanghai visit

Thank God for the chance to visit the historic and fast growing city in China
It was also great to meet Wilson and Anita in Shanghai. Praise God for His wonderful provision.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Young people dedication to missions

Lovely young people who stand before the alter to accept the calling to serve God in missions. Very touching!

Malaysia Youth Missions Conference

Thank God for the opportunity to serve God in Malaysia. And thanks for many of your prayers. 950 youngsters attended, and hundred dedicated to full time missions work. Praise the Lord! God was doing amazing work in a Muslim country.

Friday, November 21, 2008

International Board meeting 2008

Our international Board meeting was fruitful. Thank God for members travel from different continents for 2 days of meetings.

May God bless them with a safe journey home.