Friday, October 31, 2008

Devotional 311008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. God is good and His mercy endures forever. We have been threatened by the global financial tsunami. Everybody is concerned about the financial well being and livelihood. Faith based organization like churches and para-church organizations are usually on the hard hit list in this crisis. But the Bible teaches us to rejoice in Him even when we are in financial destitution, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab 3:17-18). This is the time to experience God and His provision for our lives in a tangible manner. Prophet Habakkuk was in a much worse situation when his whole world seemed to collapse before him. His country was in panic mode while he remained calm. It was because God reminded him, crisis in life was a time to test the faith of His saints, “The righteous will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4b).
"…I tell you the truth, 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." (Matt 17:20b). We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, it may be so in the initial stages of our walk with Him; but we do not earn anything by faith, faith brings us into right relationship with God and gives God His opportunity to do whatever He thinks best for us. God frequently takes away your security blanket or even your survival means if you are a saint, in order to drive you toward Him. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings. Your earlier life of faith was narrow and intense, settled around a little sunspot of experience that had as much of sense as of faith in it, full of light and sweetness; then God withdrew His conscious blessings on you in order to teach you to walk by faith. You are worth far more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight and thrilling testimony.
Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God's character has to be cleared in our own minds. Faith in its actual working out has to go through many tests of isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life; much that we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts Him and His attributes - I will remain true to God's character whatever He may do. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" - this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible.
Honestly, our heart melts when we focus on the financial crisis around us. That’s why we need to focus on God than on our circumstances. Remember the incidence when the disciples were in panic mode during a storm? “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (Matt 8:24-27) The disciples had experienced the character of Christ during the storm. They realized that Christ was the Lord of history and nature. Please be reminded that the Holy Spirit is on the same boat with us even though we are going through troubled waters today.
Love you in accordance to His will,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Devotional 301008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is wonderful to know that finally we will have rain in our weather forecast. We sometimes take rain for granted until we are in a drought. Some scientists predicted California would become a desert because of the climate change, if we were not going to slow down the green house effect. No matter what tomorrow may bring, we are thankful for the needy rain that will fall on our plain.
Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into a right relation. Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense fails. Faith must be tried before the reality of faith is actual. "We know that all things work together for good," then no matter what happens, the alchemy (the attempt of turning metal into gold) of God's providence can always transform the ideal faith into actual reality. Faith always works on the personal level; God purposefully wants to ensure the 'ideal' faith is made real in His children.
For every detail of the common-sense life, there is a revelation fact of God whereby we can prove in practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle, which always puts Jesus Christ first in our lives – “Lord, you have said so and so (like for instance, seek Ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in Matthew 6:33), it sounds irrational to me, but I am going to venture on your word anyway.” To turn 'head knowledge' or rational faith into a personal possession always involves a struggle, not sometimes. God always brings us into circumstances in order to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make its object real. Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we cannot have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say - "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), we have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. That’s why the Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
I hope you learn to venture on His words each day. Obedience and faith are like two sides of the same coin. Obedience is an act of faith but not common sense. A lot of thing is seen irrational by the world. It doesn’t make sense. But we know it makes a lot of sense in the world of faith. And we know our act of faith – obedience is what Jesus expects from His true followers or a test of our genuine faith. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). We’d better watch out whether we behave what we claim to be as a child of God.
Love you in obedience to His word,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Devotional 291008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was so foggy in Daly City this morning, and therefore the traffic on freeway was very slow. Many cars just exited assuming accident ahead. I took the chance to follow the slow traffic and eventually saw the light once I past the fog line at San Bruno. Praise the Lord! That experience reminded me of our new life in Christ; we were once in darkness and now we enter into the Light because of what Christ did on the cross. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5b-7).
The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy. The New Testament view is that He bore our sin not by sympathy, but by identification. He was made to be sin. Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the explanation of His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy with us. We are acceptable with God not because we have obeyed, or because we have promised to give up things (that we attach on earth), but because of the death of Christ, and in no other way. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the Fatherhood of God, the loving-kindness of God; the New Testament says He came to bear away the sin of the world. The revelation of His Father is only to those to whom He has been introduced as Savior. Jesus Christ never spoke of Himself to the world as one who revealed the Father, but as a stumbling block: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father” (John 15:22- 24). Jesus spoke only to His disciples, "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father' (John 14:9)?
That Christ died for me, therefore I go without death, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that "He died for all" (not that He died my death), and that by identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have imparted to me His very righteousness. The substitution taught in the New Testament is twofold: 1) He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. 2) We might be made the righteousness of God in Him (read 2 Cor 5:.21). Therefore, it is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed within me.
This is indeed Paul’s theology or conviction to daily practice “becoming like Him in his death” (Phil 3:10b), or “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col 3:5-10). If I were to believe in a cheap gospel that Christ died for my death (consequence of my sins), and therefore, I could indulge myself in sins without worrying about the consequence of death, then the life of Christ could never be really conceived and grow within me. Yes, we could never earn this new life of Christ by our good work or religious disciplines. It is purely a gift of God for us. But in order to nurture the life of Christ within us, we need to identify with the death of Christ daily. This is what the early church believed and practiced. But what about us today?
Let us hold each other accountable to become like Christ in His death each day, so that our lives may become a channel of His blessings to people around us.
Love you because of this New Life in Him,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Devotional 281008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather felt like winter this morning. People begin to bundle up for cold weather. This is a normal pattern of life, because if we don’t, we recognize from experience that we will suffer from a consequence – we will get sick. I hope we will be cautious of a “spiritual weather” that can cause us sick if we don’t bundle up with the right clothing. That’s why Paul said in Ephesians 4:24, “put on the new self (new clothing in Christ), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” when he described Christian living. Later on in the same letter, Paul reminded us to bundle up again by saying, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (6:11-13). God does not create human being with a thick fur to resist cold weather like Polar Bear. God designs our lives to be dependence on the provision of God for cover or protection. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God made “garments of (animal) skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). Cold weather reminds us of our dependence on His provision to survive not only physically but spiritually as well.
I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me from the consequence of my sins; repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. We may think that it is my obedience that puts me right with God – the effect of my consecration. Never! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died. When I turn to God and accept by faith what He reveals I can accept, instantly the amazing Atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God; and by the supernatural miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, not because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God suddenly lights up my mind and I know, though I do not know how, that I am saved.
The salvation of God does not stand on human logic; it stands on the sacrificial Death of Jesus. We can be born again because of the Atonement of Our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus, which is prior to all experience or spiritual respond-ability. Our indestructible security of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have no ability to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. The supernatural (Life of Christ) becomes natural (life in Christ) by the miracle of God; there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done for us on the cross - "It is finished."
Indeed, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:8-10). Our new life in Christ is the effect of God’s work in our lives. The way we realize this new life in Him is to recognize by faith what Christ has done; but such ability of realization is a gift from God. That’s why Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (1:17-19).
We don’t only need God to help us realize what Christ has done for us on the cross. We need Him daily to reveal to us how glorious our new life in Christ will become. So stay focus on Him because He loves to perfect His workmanship – which is you and I.
Love you because we are ONE in Him,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Devotional 271008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. It was good to be able to rest for a day after preaching at a retreat. The blessing of preaching in a retreat was to give myself a chance to reflect on a designated subject matter. The theme for the weekend retreat was on self-denial. It is a basic lesson for Christian living. Yet, it is almost impossible to accomplish such goal by our own strength. There is only one problem that gets on our way to such perfection – self-centeredness or pride. Our whole world will definitely be better only if we are able to deny ourselves and obey Christ. If we put off our old self and put on Christ, we will enter into a renewed relationship with others.
I always believe that I am the one who will benefit the most from my own sermons. I am sure this principle applies to all Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders. I don’t know about my audiences, but I thanked God for giving me a chance to renew my faith in Him through the retreat. As a matter of fact, the more we meditate or reflect on God’s words, the more we can discern God’s teaching from religious traditions that we may have inherited from the past. Let’s attempt to carefully study the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 again, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
In this passage, Jesus Christ did not say - Go and save souls (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but - "Go and teach," i.e., make disciple of "all nations," and you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples came back from their first mission they were filled with joy because the devils were subject to them, and Jesus replied, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:19-20).The great essential of the missionary is that he remains true to the call of God, and realizes that his one purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. There is a passion for souls that does not spring from God, but from the desire to make converts according to our point of view.
The challenge to the missionary does not come on the line that people are difficult to get saved, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, that there is a wedge of callous indifference; but along the line of his own personal relationship to Jesus Christ. "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Matt 9:28b) Our Lord Jesus did not only put this question before the two blind men that he was about to heal, but before all of us today; this question faces us in every individual case or circumstances we encounter in life. The one great challenge is - Do I know my Risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God's sight, and foolish enough according to the world, to bank on what Jesus Christ has said, or am I abandoning the great supernatural position we have in Christ, which is the only call for a missionary, and that is boundless confidence in Christ Jesus? If I take up any other method I depart altogether from the methods laid down by Our Lord Jesus Christ in His great commandment for us, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20).
The more we abide in Christ and have full confidence in His authority in both heaven and earth, the more we have assurance in obeying His command and to teach ALL nations about Christ. We are not called to save souls, but to be witnesses of His transformation power for our lives. When we faithfully obey His words and teach others to do the same, God will convert people and add to His church the number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47b). Hope you find time to meditate on your way home…
Love you because it is my joy in Christ,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Retreat at Bodega Bay

It was fun to speak at the retreat of the young adult fellowship of Peninsula Chinese Alliance Church. We deeply appreciated their hospitality. Weather was wonderful at Bodega Bay. Fellowship was warm, food was exceptionally delicious, brothers and sisters were so sweet and fun. I praise God for this community of genuine seekers for the Lord.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Devotional 241008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was sad to hear on Radio that a group of Asian ministers in San Francisco publicly denounced the Proposition 8. They did not discuss the Biblical perspective on marriage but to argue on the basis of human rights. It is dangerous when we put our rights over the principles of God. Our Creator God knows better what our rights should be. Therefore His principles for us are the ways to abundant life. If we believe our basic human right is the right to do whatever we want, then we will face the consequence of self-destruction. Liberty outside the boundary of Truth is indulgence of our flesh and lust. And when everybody insists on his or her rights to indulge of their own lust, a community or nation will become chaos. When men “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things (like their own selves) rather than the Creator…God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Rom 1:25-27). O Lord, Have mercy on us sinners who have tendency to ignore your words and justify our own lusts as the truth. As we exchange the truth of God for a lie (justify our own sins), our consequence will be eternal wrath and judgment; which is something You do not want to do, and the very reason that You send Your beloved Son to die on our behalf. Help us not to water down your righteousness to our desired level, but to always uphold your truth as our ABSOLUTE standard for our human rights and fair judgment for our community.
The viewpoint of a worker for God must not be as near the highest as he can get, it must be the highest. Make sure we maintain tirelessly God's point of view in our lives, it has to be done every day, bit by bit; don't settle with anything less. No outside power (not even judges of our supreme court) can touch and change the viewpoint or standard of God.
The viewpoint to uphold is that we are here for one purpose only, and that is to be captives in the train of Christ's triumphs. “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2 Cor 2:14). We are not just display in God's showroom, we are here to exhibit one thing - the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ. How small the other points of view are comparing to this - I am standing alone battling for Jesus; I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold this fort for Him. Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians basically means - I am in the train of a conqueror, and it does not matter what the difficulties are, I am always led in triumph. Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul's secret joy was that God took him, a red-handed rebel against Jesus Christ, and had made him a captive, and now that was all he was here for. Paul's joy was to be a captive of the Lord; he had no other interest in heaven or in earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting a personal victory. The Victor ought to have got hold of us so completely that it is His victory all the time, and we are more than conquerors through Him (when we submit ourselves totally to His command). "For we are to God the aroma of Christ" (2 Cor 2:15a). We are bearers of the odor of Jesus, and wherever we go we are wonderful refreshment to God the Father.
Just as President Lincoln was once asked as to what side would he think that God stand in the civil war of America, his reply was (my paraphrase), “I don’t know which side would God stand (that means which side would win the war). But the most important thing to me is whether I will stand on His side.” We are called to stand firm on the Truth, and the Truth will eventually set us free. I pray that God will empower you to discern the Truth from the confusion of secularism and Christianity in America.
Love you in according to His word,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Devotional 231008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. How blessed we are to be in His training school each day! His goal is to bring out the potentials or gifts that He has bestowed upon us since the day we were conceived in our mother’s womb. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139: 14-16). A lot of time, it is our fears, worries and rebellions that prohibit Him to process His good works within us. Only if we allow Him, listen to Him and obey Him, we will see changes in us that are far exceeding our imagination. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We are a new creation IF we are in Christ. So the challenge is to abide IN Christ; which is to listen and obey Him at all time. Then the new creation that God intended for us to have; the life Christ will grow within us.
Our Lord never nurses our prejudices or unfair judgments; He mortifies them and cleans them thoroughly. We imagine that God has a special interest in our particular prejudices; we are quite sure that God will never deal with our prejudices, as He has to deal with other people. "God must deal with other people in a very harsh way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right." We have to learn - "Not a bit of it!" Instead of God being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately wiping them out. It is part of our moral education to have our prejudices run straight across by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender; God wants us to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is not a bit of the old order left, the old value judgment goes, the old attitude toward things and people goes, and "all things are of God." How are we going to get the life that has no lust, no self-interest, no sensitiveness to ridicules, the love that is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, the love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and always kind? The only way is by allowing not a bit of the old life to be left in us; but only simple perfect trust in God, such trust that we no longer want God's blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him? When once we see God at work, we will never bother our heads about things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in Heaven Whom the world cannot see.
Our dear Heavenly Father, this kind of new life is beyond our human ability that can realize. But we trust in you who can accomplish all things in us. You are the trainer and our life coach. We surrender our lives to your hands, so that you can freely nurture a new creation in us for your glory. Amen. Hope you will join me in that prayer each day.
Love you according to His new order,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Devotional 221008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thank God for His faithful provision and protection for His children. How blessed we are to be the children of the Almighty God who cares and watch over us each day! It does not depend on our feeling or effort to remain in His love. It all depends on His faithfulness that we will continue to remain in His love. After all the ups and downs in his life, Paul testified, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children” (Romans 8:16). It is God’s initiative to call us back to Him, therefore He will continue to affirm us from time to time that we are His beloved children no matter how circumstances may change. A lot of time, it is our religious baggage (save by good works) that drive us to secure our relationship with God. But Paul’s theology is that God will affirm in our spirit that we are His children.
We are in danger of getting the bargaining spirit when we come to God, we want the witness before we have done what God tells us to do (through His Spirit and His Word). "Why does not God reveal Himself to me if He wants me to do His will?" He cannot, it is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are blocking the road as long as you won't absolutely obey Him. Immediately when you obey, God witnesses to Himself, He cannot witness to you, but He witnesses instantly to His own nature within you. If you had the witness before your obedience to Him, it would end in sentimental emotion. Immediately when you live out His Redemption, and stop the rebellious desire to debate His Word, God gives on the witness. As soon as you abandon reasoning and argument against His Word, God witnesses to what He has done, and we are amazed at our rebellious spirit that have kept our God waiting for so long. If you are in debate as to whether God can deliver you from sin, either you let Him do it, or simply tell Him He cannot save you at all. Do not quote the reasoning of this and that person, just respond to Jesus' calling in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And find assurance in His promise, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
The Spirit of God witnesses to the Redemption of Our Lord, He does not witness to anything else; He cannot witness to our reason. The simplicity that comes from our natural common-sense decisions is apt to be mistaken for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature within us, and to the work of Redemption, never to our reason. If we try to make Him witness to our reason or justification, it is no wonder we end up in darkness and confusion. Throw your rebellion all overboard, trust in Him, and He will give the witness to His Spirit within you that you are His beloved children.
We have a tendency to seek God’s affirmation of our decision in order to avoid failure or to guarantee success. But God’s agenda is for us to learn obedience and surrender your life totally under His Will. When you seek to follow God’s words, you can rest like Paul in this assurance, “All things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
Love you for His pleasure,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Devotional 211008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. What a beautiful day it is to enjoy our Father’s creation! It is important to take control of our mood and submit to the Lord for His pleasure. It is like a piece of canvas surrendering in the hand of a great painter, will turn into a beautiful piece of artwork. The intention of our Creator God is to make our lives as beautiful as His First and only Son – Jesus Christ. All we need to do each day is to surrender our whole being to Him and focus on His ability and sovereignty. If you were amazed by what God did in our universe and in this planet earth, you should have full confidence that He is fully capable to turn your lives into something far more beautiful than you can imagine. The key is not to try harder to change your habit or lifestyle in the way you want to be, but to abide daily in His Word and focus to obey what the Holy Spirit may guide you to do and to be. Our spiritual discipline can be summarized in one verse in the Bible, “You, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Judas 20).
There was nothing either of the nature of impulse or of cold-bloodedness about Our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the line of our temperament or personality, not along the line of God. Impulse is a trait in natural life, but Our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God deals with our impulse: He intervenes and brings to us a rush of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate or justify ourselves. Impulse is all right in a child, but it is disastrous in a man or woman; an impulsive man is always a petted man or like a spoiled kid. Impulse has to be trained into intuition by inner discipline.
Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked impulsively on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand in crises, human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the strain or pressure in life magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live 24/7 as a saint, to go through chores and mundane of life as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is natural tendency for us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.
Sanctification is indeed a life-long training by God to become the kind of person He intended for us to be. We are not called to do great things for God, but to become an exceptionally ordinary person that the world may not know or even appreciate. Yet, God will use their existence to impact the world in a profound and significant way.
Let me encourage you to become this kind of person in your office today.
Love you in the name of Christ,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Devotional 201008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thank God for doing His marvelous work in each of our lives for His glory. When we give Him the freedom to do His will, we will not be disappointed in witnessing His amazing works in and through our lives. Yesterday was a very meaningful and tiring day; Loretta and I went to Home of Christ church in Cupertino early in the morning to set up a display table for their Missions conference (see the pictures I had posted last night). We had a chance to share the vision of GO international to several Sunday school classes and with church leaders at the booth. The church also arranged all the representatives from different missions agencies sit down together for some fellowship time. Afterward, we went to the ‘One Man One Woman’ campaign rally. If I were to find a common theme that links up all the things we did and said yesterday, I would say ‘a display of God’s work.’ The church or the collective new creation in Christ is the display of God’s masterpiece for mankind, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10).
As one of the speakers at the campaign rally said, marriage is the masterpiece that God has created for mankind. Even though the institution of marriage may have been covered with dusts and dirt right now, it does not mean we should ignore and even destroy it. That’s why we should defend it from any form of abuse and destruction. In a similar manner, the church is the masterpiece of God. Even though the church has been scared by many shameful conflicts and failures throughout history, it does not mean we should ignore and destroy it. The church stands as the masterpiece of Christ’s atonement. We continue to let Christ display His atonement in and through His church for the world to see and experience. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:13-14). Our sweet Holy Spirit will relentlessly works toward this goal of making His church to be salt and light of the world. With this in mind, let us read Oswald Chambers’ devotional journal for today.
It is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me; is it my will? Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7, “It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God…For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” Am I willing to let God do in me all that has been made possible by the Atonement of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus be made sanctification to me, and to let the life of Jesus be manifested in my mortal flesh? Beware of saying - Oh, I am longing to be sanctified. You are not, stop longing and make it a matter of transaction - "Nothing in my hands I can bring into this sanctification." Receive Jesus Christ to be made sanctification to you in implicit faith, and the great marvel of the Atonement of Jesus will be made real in you. All that Jesus made possible is made mine by the free loving gift of God on the ground of what He performed, my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness), a holiness based on agonizing repentance and a sense of unspeakable shame and degradation; and also on the amazing realization that the love of God commended itself to me in that while I cared nothing about Him, He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8). No wonder Paul says nothing is "able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:35a)
Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is done only through the superb Atonement of Christ. Never put the effect as the cause. The effect in me is obedience and service and prayer, and is the out come of speechless thanks and adoration for the marvelous sanctification accomplished in me because of the Atonement of Christ on the cross.
Hope this sharing will inspire you to allow Christ continue to display His good work in you at wherever you may be.
Love you because of the work of Christ in me,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First booth duty

I learned to promote GOI for the first time.

Thanks to Home of Christ Church in Cupertino to invite GOI to display our missions to their church. It was a very well organized conference. And they have invited many mission organizations to display for their congregation. Many came by my booth to give me support and encouragement. Loretta was truly a great PR lady and helper for me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Devotional 171008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. How beautiful it is to see trees begin to change color in autumn. I guess this is the most beautiful transition of seasons before winter arrives, when everything turns pale and lifeless. Of course, during the winter season, most plants go into a ‘Sabbath’ mode – to reserve resources and build roots for the arrival of spring. Similar to seasons of life, ministry will also have different modes. There are times when our ministry is blooming like spring. We see new works begin everywhere. Pretty soon, we find ourselves busy like summer in keeping up with the growth. And after a season of vibrant growth, ministry arrives to a brilliant stage of maturity –a colorful season of autumn. At this stage, ministry will gradually slow down and refocus on deepening roots in Him but not in human wisdom and plans.
Nature does not have a choice in seasons. Nature only accommodates or adapts herself to the change of seasons her Creator designs. In the same way we adapt ourselves from time to time to the changes that God has designed for our lives. Throughout different transitions in life, prayer plays a very significant part to empower or enable us to be the kind of person that God wants us to become, and to do the things that He has intended for us to do in that season.
Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14). We think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for God's work. In the teaching of Jesus Christ prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me, which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. The way fruit remains is by prayer, but remember it is prayer based on the agony of Redemption, not on my agony. Only a child gets prayer answered; a wise man does not.
Prayer is the battle; it is a matter of indifference where you are. Whichever circumstances that God may put you in, your duty is to pray. Never allow the thought - "I am of no use where I am;" because you certainly can be of no use where you are not. Wherever God has dumped you down in circumstances you pray, go to Him in prayer all the time. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name." We usually won't pray unless we get thrills, that is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We have to labor along the line of God's direction, and He says pray. "Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest."
There is nothing thrilling about a laboring man's work, but it is the laboring man who makes the conceptions of the brilliant plan of God possible; and it is the laboring saint who makes the conceptions of his Master possible. You labor at prayer and results happen all the time from His standpoint. What an astonishment it will be to find, when the veil is lifted, the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you had been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ faithfully in prayer.
I can’t think of a better way to experience God than to surrender myself to His will through prayer. By surrendering myself to His salvation plan I was saved. By surrendering myself to His salvation plan I was called into full time ministry. By surrendering myself to His salvation plan I was re-assigned to serve in GO international. In prayer I learned to focus not on what I want from Him but what He wants from me. In prayer I learn to surrender myself willfully to His words and His wishes for mankind. You may experience Him in a similar way through prayer. Let’s pause and pray in this way…
Love you in accordance to His will,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Devotional 161008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thank God for being able to enjoy blue sky, green grass, beautiful trees and singing birds. In the midst of uncertainty, crises and stresses, take a moment to look out your window and remind yourself that this planted earth belongs to your Creator God. Satan may have taken captive of the sinful nature of mankind. But our Creator God is relentlessly reaching out to liberate those who are under Satan’s domain from their bondage of sins. For those of us who have been rescued are instantly enlisted to become rescuers. But before we dive in to His rescue missions by our common sense, we need to get used to His guidelines and learn to obey His commands. If volunteers of Red Cross need training to rescue earthquake or disaster’s victims, we (rescue missionaries) need to practice listening and obeying to His words on a daily basis. Otherwise, our missions may become futile, or sometimes may cause even more damages. Paul reminded us in Galatians 6:1, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." Learn to obey His words instead of launching out to help God or others.
The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer not work, that is, not work as the word is popularly understood today because that may mean the evasion of concentration on God. The key to the missionary problem is not the key of common sense, nor the medical key, nor the key of civilization or education or even evangelization. The key is prayer. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Matt 9:36-38). Naturally, prayer is not practical, it is absurd; we have to realize that prayer is stupid from the ordinary common-sense point of view.
There are no nations in Jesus Christ's outlook, but the world. How many of us pray with out respect of persons, and with respect to only one Person, Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced by distress and conviction of sin, and this is the harvest we have to pray that laborers may be thrust out to reap. We are taken up with active work while people all round are ripe to harvest, and we do not reap one of them, but waste our Lord's time in over-energized activities. Suppose the crisis comes in your father's life, in your brother's life, are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? "Oh, but I have a special work to do!" No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ's own, one who is not above his Master, one who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to do no special work: He calls us to Himself. " Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field," and He will engineer circumstances and thrust you out.
This is so true that His command for us is to pray – ask the Lord of harvest. Prayer may sound like an excuse for inaction. But in spiritual realm, prayer is a key to turn the tide, provided that our prayer drives us to surrender totally to the Lord of Harvest. We may pray for missionary or evangelistic ministry in church. But how often we have asked God taking over our entire life for Himself? If we daily surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit, God will make a difference in our lives and use us to impact other lives. Let’s give Him a chance to make our lives to be His channels of blessings to many…
Love you in Christ,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Devotional 151008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. We are a new creation in Christ not because of what we have done but what Christ has done for us on the cross. We come back to this core conviction everyday, and renew our dependence on Him and His atonement for our sins and weaknesses, so that we can find strength to be a new creation for His glory. None of us can boast of our own perfection or holiness. Our sinful nature is totally vulnerable to temptations or Satan’s attack. We have no strength to fight against the evil force around us; it is futile to resist Satan by our own strength or will power. Christ is our shield and our source of power. We normally will seek help from Him when we fall flat on our face, or come to our dead end street in life – Through it we understand what Apostle Paul said in 2 Cor 12:9b-10, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul was not talking about some deliberate sins that he had committed, but the unfavorable circumstances or his own incapability to stand against Satan’ attack in his life. It is out of this realization that Paul bore witness for the saving Grace of Christ all over his world.
In general, we are all called to be a missionary – to bear witnesses for the gospel of Christ. And the key to the missionary message is the forgiveness of Christ Jesus. Take any phase of Christ's work - the healing phase, the saving and sanctifying phase; there is nothing limitless about those. Only "The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world! " is limitless. The missionary message is the limitless significance of Jesus Christ as of His forgiveness for our sins, and a missionary is one who is totally soaked into this revelation: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
The key to the missionary message is the salvation aspect of Christ's life, not His kindness and His goodness, and His revealing of the Fatherhood of God; the great limitless significance is that He came to forgive our sins. The missionary message is not patriotic, it bears no discrimination against any nations and individuals; it is for the whole world. When the Holy Spirit comes in He does not consider whether I possessed any special gifts, He brings me into union with the Lord Jesus.
A missionary is one who is in union with his Lord and Master; he is not to proclaim his own point of view, but to proclaim the Lamb of God. It is easier to belong to a charismatic group, which tells what Jesus Christ has done for me, easier to become a devotee to Divine healing, or to a special type of sanctification, or to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul did not say - "Woe is unto me, if I do not preach what Christ has done for me," but - "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel." This is the Gospel - "The Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world!"
Let’s not forget to drink from Christ's fountain of love (forgiveness of our sins) each day. Without His forgiveness we are nothing (worthlessness) and we can do nothing (hopelessness). But in Him we find new self-worth and new strength because He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9a).
Love you because of His grace,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Devotional 141008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Even though my body was tired after a long phone conference last night, my spirit rejoiced in me for the gifts of life from above. Everyday is a new creation that our Creator God will design new lessons to make us more like Christ. When I focus on Him and His words, I will intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to shape me each day. The devotional journal of Oswald Chambers gave me a good start this morning. I have made some modifications on his wordings to reflect my perception of His inspirations to me. If you want to read his original journal, please go to
The basis of missionary appeals is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the world. We have a tendency to look upon Our Lord as One Who assists us in our enterprises for God. But instead our Lord puts Himself as the absolute sovereign supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say the world will be lost if we do not go; He simply says: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." In another word, the disciples were called to go on the revelation of Christ’s sovereignty because He said in previous verse, “All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matt 28:18). Then they were charged to teach and preach out of a living experience that they had with Christ.
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him…" (Matt 28:16-17a). If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him for myself, and how to get alone with Him; I must obey His words and take time to worship Him, the Being Whose Name I bear. "Come to Me" is the place to meet Jesus. Are you weary and heavy laden? How many missionaries and servants of God are! We banish those marvelous words of the universal Sovereign Lord of the world to something unimportant or secondary; but they are the words of Jesus to His disciples.
"Therefore go and make disciples. . . ." Go simply means to live. Jesus gave us the description of how to go in Acts 1:8. Jesus did not say - Go into Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, but, "You will be my witnesses" in all these places. He undertakes to establish the ‘goings’ as wherever His disciples conduct their lives.
And when Jesus said, "If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you. . . " He showed His disciples how to keep going in their personal lives. Where we are going is unimportant or secondary; God engineers the goings because He is the Sovereign Lord.
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil 1:20). That is Paul’s attitude of how to keep going till he was gone. With this kind of attitude, it really does not matter of what we do or where we go as a servant of God. I know of some missionary candidates ‘locked in’ to a country or place where they felt call from God to serve; they refused to go to other places even though God did not open door for them on that particular place. Their attitude seems to say: “I will stay put until God puts me to the place where I feel like going.” But Paul’s attitude was to go wherever the Holy Spirit led him. Paul’s original plan was to go East to Asia, but the Holy Spirit changed his course to head West, and he obeyed. I believe this is the attitude that we all should learn.
The basic challenge or calling for all of us is to abide in Him and obey His words. If we hold on to this kind of lifestyle, we will make ourselves available to God to use us in wherever He will send or place us in the world. It is far most important to ‘work’ on the relationship with our Sovereign Lord than to work on church projects or our enterprises for God in the world. Amen?
Love you because His love abides in us,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Elder Michael's beautiful grand-daughter

How sweet to have Elder Michael's grand daughter visit the church for the first time!
Fiona and Ricky looked like better babysitters than me.

Devotional 131008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was always wonderful for Loretta and I to worship in our home church - to rekindle our friendship in Christ with brothers and sisters, and to be edified together by the presence of God and His Words.
Life is full of all kinds of unknown and challenges. Sometimes, we were frustrated by many difficulties that took place in our lives like waves after waves of attack. Comparing with many other Christians, we might think we were active enough in serving God. But somehow God would put us into some kind of situation as though He did not care or totally forsake us. In reality, it was the time when God used circumstances to mold us into the kind of person or vessel that He intended to use for His great purpose. The story of Moses did give us this kind of affirmation.
Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven into blank discouragement, He sent him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses said - "Who am I, that I should go?" In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God.
We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing, then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say - "Oh, who am I?" We have to learn the first great stride of God - "I AM WHO I AM that has sent you." We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an arrogant behavior; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God, just as the way He honored His son, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (see Matthew 3:17). We fix our eyes on the individual perspective of things; we have the vision - "This is what God wants me to do;" but we have not got into God's stride, which is to focus on His greatness and His strength. If you are going through a time of discouragement or turmoil in life, remember that there is a big personal enlargement ahead of you. God is going to do great things in your life.
Do not be fooled by the evil spirit, who always attempts to remove your faith in God. Remind your soul that God is always in control, and focus on His attributes instead of in your own ability or personal calamity. Paul said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). This is Paul secret to sail through the ups and downs of his life and in his ministry. I am sure you can experience the peace of God during the economic tsunami around the globe when you stay focus on Him at all times.
Love you because He first loves us,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Devotional 101008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was a cool sunny day; it made me realize that autumn really arrives. It seems like our economy also goes into autumn and may quickly turn into winter. But no matter how seasons may change, God remains in control. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Eccl 3:1, 11). Indeed, men cannot fathom the work of God by their own wisdom. Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Matt 11:25). Men can only see the work of God unless He chooses to. Not that God chooses to prevent people from knowing Him and His work, it is the disobedience or rebellion of mankind blind us from seeing Him at work in our lives.
In spiritual relationship we do not grow step by step through our learning or thinking; we either have a relationship with God or we don’t. God does not cleanse us more and more from sin, but when we are in the light, walking in the light, we are cleansed from all sin. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5, 7). It is a question of obedience (to walk in the light), and instantly the relationship is perfected. Turn away from the light for one second out of obedience, and darkness and death are at work at once in our lives: “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth” (1 John 1:6). This relationship with God is born out of obedience – we call it born again.
All God's revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God's truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. Obey God in the thing He shows you in the Bible, and instantly the next thing is opened up. One could read volumes of books on the work of the Holy Spirit and remained confused. But one ‘five minutes’ of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam. You don’t need to say; "I suppose I shall understand these things some day!" You can understand them now. It is not study that makes you understand, but obedience. It takes tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming "wise and learned" in the eyes of the world. Your philosophy, theology and self-help books will never make you understand the work of God better than your obedience to the word of God.
Have mercy on us, O Lord. We thought we knew enough of You. But in reality, we knew nothing if we do not obey. Help us to walk in the light just as you are in the light. Amen.
Love you because of His love within us,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Devotional 091008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. We are living in a world that is under satanic domain. None of us is immune from evil temptations. In Christ, we know we are free from the bondage of sins, but our body is still prone to sins. If we do not pursue a closer walk with Christ each day, we are hopeless in terms of resisting the temptations around us. Apostle Paul reminded us in Romans 6:16-22, “Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot atone for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I can not make right what is wrong, pure what is impure, holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Do I have faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made a perfect Atonement for me, am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The great need is not to do things, but to believe things. The Redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God, which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith upon it. If I construct my faith on my experience, I produce that most unscriptural type, an isolated life, my eyes fixed on my own whiteness or emptiness. Beware of the piety that has no pre-supposition in the Atonement of the Lord. It is of no use for anything but a sequestered or detached life; it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every type of experience by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the pre-supposition of the Atonement.
The Atonement of Jesus has to work out in practical, unobtrusive ways in my life. Every time I obey, absolute Deity is on my side, so that the grace of God and natural obedience coincide. Obedience means that I have banked everything on the Atonement, and my obedience is met immediately by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.
Beware of the piety that denies the natural life, it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the bar of the Atonement - where is the discernment of the Atonement in this thing, and in that piety?
Spirituality or spiritual disciplines are so popular nowadays but they don’t necessarily build upon the atonement of Christ. It could be Eastern religion or mysticism. Many universities in America would introduce religious study on Buddhism or Hinduism but not Christianity. Many people are interested in Tibetan Buddhism, as though it is the alternative approach to spirituality. Yes, it is a kind of religion or spirituality, but it is not the kind of spirituality or spiritual discipline we believe in. Our spiritual discipline must be built upon the foundation of the atonement of Christ, because without the atonement of Christ no spiritual discipline can deliver us from the bondage of sins. I pray that our Holy Spirit will help you discern your pursuit of spirituality and your desire for piety.
Love in Christ,

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Devotional 081008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day! How easy it is for us to miss the wonderful gifts that God has prepared for our enjoyment while we busily engage in our daily routine or battle for success in life. We tend to put God away into our ‘spiritual compartment’ while we make our living, as though He has nothing to do with it. Is it how you perceive your relationship with God? Let’s meditate on our devotional reading for today:
Is it not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words - "Come to Me." In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness - "Just as I am." As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to "come."
"Come to Me." When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him.
How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling - Oh, well, I have done it this time! And yet you go away with nothing, while all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearyingly patience of Jesus - "Come to Me."
We are living in a very task oriented society where productivity is esteemed as the highest virtue. We feel bad when we are useless or non-productive. We want to prove to ourselves and to others that we are capable and successful. This inner drive will push many people to the edge of nervous breakdown. We need to take heel to heart of what Jesus said to us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28). Our Creator God wants to give us a different definition of success – to enter into the rest of Christ. And to yoke with Him, just like a horse was yoked with a cow to labor in a field, so that your daily labor or business will be truly productive.
Brothers and sisters, reprioritize your life today, so that your abiding in Christ becomes your utmost priority of your daily pursuit, because this is your real success in accordance to your Creator God - original Designer of Life.
Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Devotional 071008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is my pleasure to be in His service no matter what circumstances I may be in. God is in control of our lives at all times. If He allows certain circumstances to come upon us, His ultimate purpose is to edify us, so that we will be more Christ-like. Since the day we were born again, our Heavenly Father never stops His work in making us holy, just as Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (1:6). Amen?!

Sin is a fundamental relationship; it is not wrong doing, it is wrong being, deliberate and emphatic independence of God. The Christian religion bases everything on the positive, radical nature of sin. Other religions deal with sins; the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ faced in men was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the Gospel that the message of the Gospel has lost its sting and its blasting power.

The revelation of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took upon Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took upon Himself the heredity of sin, which no man can touch. God made His own Son to be sin that He might make the sinner a saint. All through the Bible it is revealed that Our Lord bore the sin of the world by identification, not by sympathy. He deliberately took upon His own shoulders, and bore in His own Person, the whole massed sin of the human race - "He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," and by so doing He put the whole human race on the basis of Redemption. Jesus Christ rehabilitated the human race; He put it back to where God designed it to be, and anyone can enter into union with God on the ground of what Our Lord has done on the Cross.

A man cannot redeem himself; Redemption is God's "bit," it is absolutely finished and complete; its reference to individual men is a question of their individual action. A distinction must always be made between the revelation of Redemption and the conscious experience of salvation in a man's life.

Therefore, stay close to our Holy Spirit from this day onward until we see Christ in eternity. Our Heavenly Father has a great plan in using our lives for His glory and to be a blessing to many…

Love you in Christ,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Devotional 061008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. I just came back from Bay Area Pastors Prayer meeting. It was good to pray along with so many pastors and leaders from different Christian agencies. It definitely helps to foster the unity of Chinese Christian churches in the Bay Area. Please read my devotional reading from Utmost for the Highest for today and my reflections.

If Jesus Christ is to regenerate me, what is the problem He is up against? I have a heredity I had no say in; I am not holy, nor likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is to tell me I must be holy, His teaching plants despair. But if Jesus Christ is a Regenerator, One Who can put into me His own heredity of holiness, then I begin to see what He is driving at when He says that I have to be holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the hereditary disposition that was in Himself, and all the standards He gives are based on that disposition: His teaching is for the life He puts in. The moral transaction on my part is agreement with God's verdict on sin in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a man is struck by a sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God, "until Christ be formed in you." The moral miracle of Redemption is that God can put into me a new disposition whereby I can live a totally new life. When I reach the frontier of need and know my limitations, Jesus says - "Blessed are you." But I have to get there. God cannot put into me, a responsible moral being, the disposition that was in Jesus Christ unless I am conscious I need it.

Just as the disposition of sin entered into the human race by one man, so the Holy Spirit entered the human race by another Man; and Redemption means that I can be delivered from the heredity of sin and through Jesus Christ can receive an unblemished heredity - the Holy Spirit.

We cannot depend on our own strength to become holy, just like we cannot depend on our own strength to earn salvation. If we are saved by grace, then we become holy by grace – a spiritual gift from above. This new life of Christ in us is like a DNA we received from Jesus who lives within us. Paul said in the book of Galatians, “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” (2:20). We are a new creation in Christ. And this new creation carries in us a new seed of holiness just as the one Christ possessed. We allow Christ to live in and through us each day, His holiness will naturally surface in our lives.

May the Life of Christ continue to flow through you, so that people can recognize His presence and His love in you!

Love you in Christ,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday at First Chinese Baptist Church

See from the entrance of the sanctuary.
A special display for GOI
Thanks for the support of church deacons and staff

Preach at FCBC

I have a chance to preach in one of the oldest church in San Francisco Chinatown, First Chinese Baptist Church. The interior design was so special.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Devotional 031008

After Jesus had (driven out demon from the boy) gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘why couldn't we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’” (Mark 9:28-29)

"Why could not we drive it out?" The answer lies in a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. This kind of evil forces can come forth by nothing but by concentration and redoubled concentration on Him. We can ever remain powerless, as were the disciples, by trying to do God's work not in concentration on His power, but by ideas drawn from our own temperament. We slander God by our very eagerness to work for Him without knowing Him.
You are brought face to face with a difficult case and nothing happens externally, and yet you know that liberation will be given because you are concentrated on Jesus Christ. This is your line of service - to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it in irritation, or by mounting up, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ, then that very thing, and all you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way you will never know till you see Him face to face.
We must be able to mount up with wings as eagles; but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and the living down. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," said Paul, and the things he referred to were mostly humiliating things. It is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say - "No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountain top with God." Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they are wearing out my faith altogether in Him, and put me into a panic?
The challenge of Christian living is to stay focus on Christ or draw close to Him while we serve in a humble manner each day. We tend to desire supernatural power or glorious experience of seeing God at work through us – this is a common temptation to our pride. If we fail to concentrate on Christ in whatever big project we try to accomplish for the Kingdom of God, it will not edify us at all even if we are successful. Satan knows whether we deal with challenges in life by our own ideas or by our dependence on Christ. It makes a huge difference in the spiritual realm if we do all things through Christ that strengthens us. The way to make sure that we let the Holy Spirit work through us is by contemplative prayer. We wait in silence (calm all our ideas or compulsive reactions) and listen to what our Holy Spirit has to say and how He wants to accomplish His task through us.
May the power of God continue to dwell in you and flow through you in overcoming the evil forces that may hide within you and around you… Have a blessed weekend!
Love you in Christ,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Devotional 021008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Since we have finished our devotional study on the book of 2 Corinthians, I plan to use the devotional book, Utmost for the Highest by Oswald Chambers, for my morning meditation. I had purchased this book long time ago but never read it until I started serving in GO international. I found it to be very insightful or thought provoking. It helps to deepen our understanding of the Scripture and our relationship with Christ. I hope you will join me in this journey to grow in Him. I will either down load the whole text for your reading or part of the content if it is too long. Then I will share my own reflection as a response. I hope you would do the same by writing your comment on my blog. It will becomes our online bible study time.
After the glorious experience on the Mount where the disciples witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus and his conversation with Moses and Elijah, they came down to the valley. The Bible says, "When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them..."What are you arguing with them about?" Jesus asked. A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." ...When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." (Mark 9:14-22)
After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the drab drudgery of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley, the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.
"If you can do any thing . . ." It takes the valley of humiliation to root the skepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning skeptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley? You may be able to give a testimony to sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you just now? The last time you were on the mount with God, you saw that all power in heaven and in earth belonged to Jesus - will you be skeptical now in the valley of humiliation?
Hope you will spend time to meditate on this devotional.
Love you in Christ

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

devotional 011008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is another beautiful day in my area. I thank God for giving me a quiet office to meditate and reflect. I honestly feel that one of Satan’s schemes to paralyze Christians from becoming light and salt of the world is to starve their minds from healthy spiritual food. God’s agenda is to shape our character to become Christ like each day. Everything that God allows to happen to us (good and bad) is to form our character to be Christ-like. If we fail to reflect on our encountering in life, it will take longer time for us to acquire what God intends for us to become. Just as someone says, “if you say someone is a thinker, he likes you. But if you really make him think, he hates you.” When Christians are too busy to think and to read devotional materials (to make you think and reflect), they fail to recognize the work of God in their lives and in their world. Once we Christians are driven (on auto-pilot mode) to pursue what the world is after, then we fade away from being the light and salt of the world as Christ intended for us to be. This is something I want you to THINK about even though you may not appreciate at all…
Paul ended his second letter to the Corinthians with this high note: “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss” (13:11-12 ASV). There are so much we can learn from these two simple statements. I have looked at different translations of this passage. I finally preferred American Standard Version that may better communicate what Paul was trying to say here.
Paul seems to use a ‘cause and effect’ statement in verse 11. That means if you acquire these characters…then the love of God and peace will be with you (even though he did not use the word ‘if’). Love and peace of God are His promises for all His followers. We don’t earn His love and peace. But we can fully experience or enjoy this promise of His love and peace within us, if we practice the following disciplines:
1) Rejoice – to celebrate His goodness in whatever circumstances that you are in. The will of God is meant for us to be joyful instead of putting a long face in life. Rejoice does not mean Christians do not have suffering or difficult boss. Christians should take ‘rejoice’ as a spiritual disciplines just like fasting. Fasting is to refrain from our habit to depend on food to give us fulfillment in life. Rejoice is to refrain from our habit to depend on circumstances to give us happiness in life.
2) Be made complete – to receive the work of God in shaping us toward perfection. We don’t try to be Christ-liked by our direct effort. We don’t force ourselves to conform to certain lifestyle like the Pharisees. We let the life of Christ grows in us.
3) Be like-minded – Again, by human nature we tend to distinct ourselves from others. Conflict is a norm in any given community. You should not be surprised that any office or community has conflict and politics. Only when we share a common focus of our mindset to be Christ-like, then we may become like-minded.
4) Live in peace – I believe the peace that Paul talked about was not without conflict or avoidance of conflict. Peace always accompanies with blessings. And it has to be built upon the truth and righteousness of God. But to live in peace does involve putting off our selfish attitude or interests. By human nature, we can’t bless our enemy or people who give us hard time. But this is exactly what Paul urged us to do – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
5) Holy kiss – genuine affections for one another that glorify God and edify others. We do live in a distorted culture that carries a demeaning concept about love. Again, if we are not careful (don’t think and reflect), we will act like the world tells you to act in the name of love. To me, a classic example of the problem of ‘holy kiss’ was what Judas did to Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas turned an affectionate expression of genuine love into a sign of betrayal. Judas totally violated the meaning of kiss. It became an evil kiss but not a holy kiss.
May God help us to live by His strength and love each day, in order to become the kind of Christian and church that He intends for us to be…
Love you in Christ,Lawrence