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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Devotional 191108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Our international Board meeting will start tomorrow. And right after the two days meeting, I will depart for Malaysia for our Youth Missions Conference. Praise God that we have close to 1000 people participate in this 4 days retreat/conference. This journey will also include other stops in Asia. Hope that you will remember me in your prayer. I may not be able to write my journal in the next couple of days. I pray that you will continue to stay close to the Lord for your own well being.
Jesus said, “When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:8). Very few of us know anything about conviction of guilt by the Holy Spirit; we know the experience of being disturbed because of having done wrong things; but conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and leaves one relationship only - "Against You, and You only, have I sinned!" When a man is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every power of his conscience that God dare not forgive him; if God did forgive him, the man would have a stronger sense of justice than God (as though God makes a wrong thing right). God does forgive, but it cost the rending of His heart in the Death of Christ (He made His Son pay the price for our sins) to enable Him to do so. The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the Divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. When we have been convicted of sin we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary (where Jesus died for our sins), and nothing less; the love of God is spelt on the Cross and nowhere else. The only ground on which God can forgive me is through the Cross of my Lord (someone has to pay the price for sins). There, His conscience is satisfied (God cannot violate the law by proclaiming sin as innocent. His forgiveness must involve the price of sin – which is death).
Forgiveness means not merely that I am saved from hell and made right for heaven (no man would accept forgiveness on such a level); forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a recreated relationship (with the One whom you have sinned against), into identification with God in Christ. The miracle of Redemption is that God turns me, the unholy one, into the standard of Himself, the Holy One, by putting into me a new disposition or nature, the nature of Jesus Christ. God sees us as a holy child because of Christ. Therefore we should get used to this new nature of Christ when we prepare to spend eternity with Him.
Confession is not a one-time event or magic word for us to gain eternal life. It is a constant realization of how our own nature is in the way of God’s plan for our lives. We have the nature or disposition of Christ in us. The Holy Spirit will testify for us in the spiritual realm (against Satan’s persecution) that we are indeed the children of God because of the death of Christ on our behalf. And He will also convict us of our fears and worries because their root problem may be the remnant of our self-centeredness and faithlessness. We need to confess our sins to God whenever the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, and renew our relationship with Him by abiding ourselves in Christ even more. God loves us. He knows our weaknesses. He will help, but He cannot help us to do our part in terms of dealing with our deep-rooted sins. He cannot make us love Him nor abiding in Him. He gave us this free will, and He expects us to exercise this free will to abide in Him each day. You will experience His power and help when you walk with Him whole-heartedly today.
Love you with this recreated relationship in Christ,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Devotional 181108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is so good to be back to my morning routine again - to spend quality and quantity time with the Lord. It was like missing a good breakfast when I was too busy to enjoy the presence of God yesterday. It is essential to my health to eat right and act right; it is not for legalistic reason not to eat breakfast. I chose to eat breakfast and spend time with Christ because they are essential for my well being. If I don’t, I may not suffer any imminent consequence. But I will definitely hurt myself at the end. So don’t tell God that you can’t find time for Him nor you are too busy to take care of your own health, you will suffer from doing so.
If there is any remnant of individual conceit left, it always says, "I can't" (Remember, the opposite of pride is inferiority). The personality that God designs never says "I can't," but simply absorbs and absorbs (a little child is always daring to explore life and accept challenges). Personality always wants more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God; and sin and our individuality are the things that keep us from getting at God. God delivers us from sin: we have to deliver our selves from individuality, i.e., to present our natural life to God and sacrifice it until it is transformed into a spiritual life by obedience. Therefore don’t tell God what you can’t do in the Bible. If you do, you are telling God that you know better than Him, and you are still in the driver seat.
God does not pay any attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His order runs right across the natural life, and we have to see that we aid and support God, not stand against Him and say - I can't do that. God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring every thought and imagination into captivity; we have to do it just as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Do not say - O Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts. Don't suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individuality and get emancipated out into God designed personality. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Do not substitute 'Savior' for 'Son.' The Savior sets us free from sin (this is the accomplishment that Christ has done on the cross for those who trusts in Him); the freedom that we enjoy thereafter each day is being set free by the Son who lives in us. It is what Paul means in Gal. 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ," his natural individuality has been broken and his personality united with his Lord, not merged with the Lord but united with Him. "You shall be free indeed," free in essence, and free from inside out. We will insist on actively pursue this unity with Christ, instead of being energized passively into identification with Jesus.
The freedom that we can experience in life lies in Christ. When we abide in Him each day, we participate in this freedom that only Christ can offer. Therefore, the more we abide in Him each day, the more we realize how wonderful this freedom we can have in Christ. We will no longer be bound in sins, in fear, in pride or in worries. We are free to be the kind of personality that God designs us to be.
Hope you will enjoy your union with Christ today.
Love you because of His freedom in me,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Devotional 171108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. I was extremely busy with meeting after meeting as soon as I had finished our staff morning prayer time. I literally had no break in between to check my email nor write my journal until now. But the day was very fruitful. Praise the Lord!
The devotion I read this morning came out of the story of how Abraham sacrificed his only beloved son, Isaac. After Abraham learned to obey God’s ultimate command in his life, God said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" (Genesis 22:16-18). Abraham has reached the place where he is in touch with the very nature of God, he understands now the Reality of God.
"My goal is God Himself . . .At any cost, dear Lord, by any road." "At any cost, by any road" means nothing self-chosen in the way God brings us to the goal. There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says - "Come," I simply come; when He says - "Let go," I let go; when He says - "Trust in God in this matter," I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.
God's revelation of Himself to me is determined by my character, not by God's character.
"'This is because I am mean, God’s ways so often look mean to me." By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God really is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then, I know that "in all the world, my God, there is none but You, there is none but You." The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us, then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. "All the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen." The "yes" must be born out of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say "Amen" to a promise, then that promise is ours.
The lesson of obedience is truly difficult for us but essential for our transformation as a child of God. The test of faith may make us angry with God at time. We know that He is not a nice God even though He is good at all time. No matter how difficult our lives may be today, we know by faith that God means to bless us through it. We learn to obey with a cheerful heart.
Have a blessed evening.
Love you in the name of Christ,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Preached at Crosspoint Chinese Church

Thank God for a chance to preach at 3 worship services of Milpitas Crosspoint Chinese Church. And it was my privilege to pray for commissioning their first short term mission team to Central America. I treasured the opportunity to preach at their new Mandarin Service as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Devotional 141108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. There is no better way to experience God than to live our day with an obedient heart; discern what God wants us to learn in every encountering that He puts in our way. The most demanding or difficult customer, boss or coworker that suddenly knocked on our door could be a God sent ‘angel’ to test our faith or to shape our character. With an obedient heart and devoted soul, we seek to experience His love in all circumstances. Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” (Rom 8:35)? The answer of course is none of the above. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. If this is our conviction, then we are courageous to face all kinds of difficulties or difficult persons that may come our way. With this in mind, let’s look at what Oswald Chamber shared in his walk with Christ.
We have to be so one with God that we do not continually need to ask for guidance. The servant of Abraham had this kind of conviction in God, when he was sent to look for a wife for Isaac in Abraham’s hometown, "Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master's relatives" (Genesis 24:27). Sanctification means that we are made the children of God, and the natural life of a child is obedience - until he wishes to be disobedient, then instantly there is the intuitive detachment. In the spiritual domain the intuitive detachment is the warning of the Spirit of God. When He gives the warning, we have to stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind in order to make out what God's will is. If we are born again of the Spirit of God, it is the abortion of piety to ask God to guide us here and there. "The Lord has led me," and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God.
We can all easily see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail in regular days. Never allow the interruption or unexpected thing that happens to you as anything less than God's appointed order, and always be ready to discover the Divine designs in anywhere and in any encountering.
Beware of confining yourself to certain routines or consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. ‘I shall never do the things that I am not used to do’ - in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. There never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord (Jesus did not confine himself to every religious routines or traditions on earth), but He was never inconsistent to His Father. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle (or to a tradition), but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life, which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious hypocrisy, in being loyal to God.
To be honest with you, it is not easy to practice this kind of teaching that Chambers described, or follow the footstep of Christ according to the way he walked on earth. Jesus challenged the religious institution, religious practices and traditions of his days. He walked a tight rope of being perceived radical and devotional at the same time in his earthly life. The ‘conservatives’ accused Him of being too liberal for not conforming to their traditions, while the ‘seculars’ embraced Him as their rebel’s leader. In another word, he walked on a lonely journey that pleased none but God His Father. This kind of devout life requires a lot of assurance from the Lord and genuine devotional practice; that dares to be difference from the world not for the sake of being difference. If this is not the work of God, none can truly conduct a life of saint accordingly. Have mercy on us O Lord! We desire the life of Christ to grow within us.
Love you not according to the world but Christ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Devotional 131108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day; birds came back to sing and dance on the tree outside of my office window. How pleasant it is to be alive! But most importantly, how pleasant it is to know why I am alive, because God creates all things for a purpose. “See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you…(Matt 6:28-30)? Let’s enjoy this precious life in accordance to His design, so that our lives will truly reflect the glory of His Son Jesus Christ.
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” (Galatians 2:20). We have to battle through our moods into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus, to get out of the hole-and-corner business of our experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says that Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meanness of the miserable faith we have - I haven't had this and that experience! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims - that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit adoring faith in Him; He is made unto us "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." How can we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! Our salvation is from hell and eternal condemnation, and then we talk about making sacrifices!
We have to get out into faith in Jesus Christ continually; not a prayer meeting Jesus Christ, nor a book Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate, and Who ought to strike us to His feet as dead. Our faith must be in the One from whom our experience springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute abandon of devotion to Himself. We never can experience Jesus Christ, nor ever hold Him within the compass of our own hearts, but our faith must be built in strong emphatic confidence in Him.
It is along this line that we see the rugged impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All our fears are wicked, and we fear because we will not nourish ourselves in our faith. How can any one who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! It ought to be an absolute praise of perfectly irrepressible, triumphant belief.
We are indeed indebt to our loving Heavenly Father, who created us in according to the image of His Son, and saved us while we were still rebellious sinners. He gave us a new start when He covered us with the holiness of Christ, which implies a new identity with a renewed purpose of living. My son was a field medic serving with the US Marines in Iraq. He observed how the Marine uniform could make an ordinary teenager to become an invincible and brave soldier. I hope it is equally true to us, the soldiers of Christ. We become a new person with a new identity simply because we have been covered or dressed by the holiness of Christ. This holiness is not just to avoid and refrain from sins and evil desires. The holiness of Christ is also an active or passionate participation in the goodness and purpose of God for mankind. And this is the reason for our living today. Amen?
Love you because of the holiness of Christ,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Devotional 121108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The overcast weather gave me a calm and serene feeling. It is like wrapping myself with a warm blanket at home, and meditating on God’s word with a cup of hot coffee...But I am actually meditating God’s words in my office right now. I already had my coffee and a prayer session with my coworkers. I just enjoy myself to be in His loving arms while I work.
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). What idea do you have concerning the salvation of your soul? The experience of salvation means that in your real life things are really altered, you no longer look at things as you used to (attitude change and paradigm shift); your desires are new, old things have lost their power. One of the touchstones of experience is - Has God altered the thing that matters to you? If you still crave after the old things, it is absurd to talk about being born from above; you are juggling with yourself. If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the alteration manifest in your daily life and reasoning, and when the crisis comes you are the most amazed person on earth at the wonderful difference there is in you. There is no possibility of imagining that you did it. It is this complete and amazing alteration that is the evidence that you are a saved soul.
What difference has my salvation and sanctification made in my life? For instance, can I stand in the light of 1 Corinthians 13 in regards to love, or do I have to shuffle? The salvation that is worked out in me by the Holy Spirit emancipates me entirely, and as long as I walk in the light as God is in the light, He sees nothing to censure because His life is working out in every particular aspect of my life, not to my consciousness, but deeper than my consciousness.
I fully agree with Brother Chambers that God is constantly at work in our lives, when we choose to walk in the light as He is in the light. We don’t consciously change our mindset but simply focus on Christ and His teachings daily. When crisis knocks on our door, our reaction will amaze us how we have grown in our new creature in Christ. Jesus made it clear at the end of His Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matt 7:24-27). Testing will come upon our lives in different size and shape. But God uses them to accomplish one very important goal, which is to nurture us into a new creature in Christ.
I hope you and I will continue to abide in Him and seek to obey His words, so that whatever beat against our house, we will still stand firm in our ground.
Love you in according to 1 Corinthians 13,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Devotional 111108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is indeed my distinct privilege to participate in God’s global missions; to support our missionaries and to mobilize Chinese churches to actively participate in God’s salvation plan globally. But it does not mean the journey is rosy and easy. I discovered a lot of issues involved in mission mobilization. It is somewhat like the way a government recruits and dispatches troops to battlefields overseas; it requires a lot of management skills in different areas because it involves many issues and concerns. Nevertheless, we have a Commander in Chief that is all knowing, all-powerful and all loving. He possesses all kinds of resources and creative strategies to accomplish His goal. As a matter of fact, the victory has been won. We just need to clean up the mess and conquer the stubborn resistances that are still active underground. Paul reminded us well in 2 Cor 10:3-5, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We 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.” Remember, there is no civilian or bench warmer in the Kingdom of God; every member of God’s Kingdom is enlisted to active duty to fight this Spiritual warfare, even though some may be dispatched to a foreign soil. Don’t indulge yourself in a layback attitude, because it is definitely not from the Spirit of God but from the Evil One.
God said to Abraham, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’” (Genesis 22:2). If we were in Abraham’s position, we might argue that even though God's command for me was to ‘take now your son,’ He might not necessarily mean ‘immediately.’ It is extraordinary how we normally debate! We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once. To climb to the height that God shows, it should never be procrastinated; it must be done now. The sacrifice must go through in will before it is put into action.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about” (v. 3). It is the wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not consult with flesh and blood. Beware when you want to consult with flesh and blood; you are seeking your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship to God. These are the things that normally compete with and hinder your obedience to God.
On the other hand, we must recognize that Abraham did not choose the sacrifice. Always guard against ‘self-chosen service’ for God; self-sacrifice may be a mental disease or pathetic behavior. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it, but never choose the scene of your martyrdom. God chose the suffering for Abraham, and Abraham made no complain; he went steadily through it. If you are not abiding in Him, it is easy for you to raise your fists against God. You must go through the suffering before you have any right to pronounce a verdict against it, because in the suffering you learn to know God better. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man's purpose become one.
God has a special assignment for each one of us who serve in His Kingdom. And His interest is not so much on the assignment we accomplish for Him on earth, but how the assignment may shape and prepare us to be the kind of member for His eternal Kingdom. Let’s encourage each other to abide intimately in Him, to serve faithfully in our roles, and to respond promptly to His call for His special assignment for us each day.
Love you because we serve in the same platoon,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Devotional 101108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I enjoyed this cool sunny weather as a fresh start of aother new week, especially knowing that God has a great plan for my life each day. Isn’t it wonderful to be the children of God? Amen. We know because of His faithfulness that He will be with us till the end of the world. Our Lord Jesus has promised us, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:18-20). I wish we were all ready and excited for the second coming of Christ, just as Beijing had been excited and fully prepared for the Olympic just couples of months ago. If we were so excited for this temporal glory that came and gone in history, imagine how much joy we should have in preparing for the eternal glory of the New Heaven and the New Earth to come. The more I dwell on that picture of our eternal glory, the more I can identify with Paul’s conviction, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18). Through this promise of God, I hope and you and I can find strength to deal with all kinds of challenges in lives and at work today.
"We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them (difficulties and persecutions because of our faith)" (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3). As a matter of fact, after sanctification it is difficult to state what your goal in life is anymore, because God has taken you up into His purpose by the Holy Spirit; He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself – ‘God has called me for this and that;’ you are putting a barrier to God's use of you. As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition for your life, you cannot get through into identification with God's interests. You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never understand your ways.
I have to learn that the goal in life is God's, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say – ‘Lord, this gives me such heartache.’ To talk in that way makes me a clog in God’s plan. When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what He wants without any hindrance. He can crumple me up or exalt me; He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have complete faith in Himself and in His goodness. Self-pity or inferiority complex is from the devil, if I continue to dwell on that mindset I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. If I dwell in a ‘small world’ within the world in which I live, God will never be able to get me outside it because I am afraid of being frostbitten; therefore, I continue to stay within the 'warmth' of my comfort zone. By doing so, I waste the wonderful gift of life that God has given to me; I have not truly lived.
I hope you will surrender your life to your Master’s hand, knowing that He has a great plan for your life in fulfilling His glorious purpose. I do not know what lies ahead of my life tomorrow, I only want to make sure that I allow Him to take control of my life today.
Love you in according to Christ’ passion,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Devotional 071108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Lately, I felt like returning back to my language study mode at seminary days, when I memorized Greek and Hebrew vocabularies everyday. I even spoke Greek in my dreams. I named my children in Greek as well. I immerged myself totally into that language system. Now, I commit myself to improve my Mandarin for the sake of Missions. I listen to Mandarin Bible when I drive. I carry my Mandarin dictionary with me all the time, in order to confirm the pronunciation of some uncertain vocabulary or words. I literally took notes of some uncertain words that a Mandarin speaker said. Language learning becomes my daily routine only second to my devotional time. I became attentive to all the Mandarin conversations that I took for granted (I thought I knew) before. And seek every opportunity to learn and practice. I beleive this should be the same kind of attitude that we use in our walks with Christ. Don’t assume you know all about God. Seek every opportunity to learn from the Holy Spirit whenever He prompts you from within, and practice obedience to His teaching and guidance everyday. By doing so, we allow God to use us to impact the world in wherever and whenever He likes, which is beyond our comprehension.
The circumstances of a saint's life are ordained by God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance or coincidence. The Bible says, "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28a). God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the intercession of the Spirit in you may take a particular line. "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Rom 8:26b). Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say – ‘I am going to take charge by myself here, I must watch this, and guard that.’ All your circumstances are in the hands of God; therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to enter into the agony of intercession (praying harder and louder), but to utilize the common-sense circumstances God puts you in, and the common-sense people He puts you among by His providence, to bring them before God's throne of Grace and give the Holy Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them. In this way God is going to sweep and change the whole world with His saints.
We should ask ourselves from time to time, "Am I making the Holy Spirit's work difficult by being vague and indecisive, or by trying our own effort to do His work for Him?" I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with (That means I should not detach or isolate myself from people in order to intercede for others). I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Spirit, then, as I bring the different people before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them.
Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, but the Holy Spirit makes intercession in our particular lives for a particular purpose, without which intercession for someone will be useless and empty to our lives.
So, open the ears and eyes of your heart to listen and see Him at work around you. It is not a coincidence for you to be in where you are today. If God puts you in a certain situation, He must have a plan in terms of how to use you to intercede for the people in that circumstance. Therefore, your attentiveness to the Holy Spirit will make you a blessing to your world.
Love you because it gives me more joy in Christ,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Devotional 061108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was heart warming to see birds dancing on the tree outside my office window. The words of Jesus immediately emerged to my mind, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt 6:25-27) The minute my heart was filled with this promise form God, indescribable joy just flood into my soul. Praise the Lord! How blessed we are to be His beloved children. Amen?
When the whole world believed that Lazarus was “hopelessly” dead (he had been dead for 3 days), Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26) Martha believed in the power at the disposal of Jesus Christ, she believed that if He had been present He could have healed her brother (Lazarus); she also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do; but she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha's program of belief (power of resurrection) had its fulfillment only in the future; Jesus led her on until her faith became a personal conviction (not just a theological lesson), and then slowly came to an intimate proclamation - "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world " (John 11:27).
Is there something like that in the Lord's dealings with you? Is Jesus educating you into a personal intimacy with Himself? Let Him press home His question to you - " Do you believe this?" What is your ordeal of doubt? Have you come, like Martha, to some overwhelming passage in your circumstances where your program of belief is about to emerge into a personal conviction? This can never be until a personal need arises out of a personal problem that you encounter in life.
To believe is to commit. In the program of mental belief I commit myself, and abandon all that is not related to that commitment. In personal belief I commit myself morally to this way of confidence and refuse to compromise with any other; and in particular belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ, and determine in that thing to be dominated by the Lord alone.
When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me - "Do you believe this?" I find that faith is as natural as breathing, and I am staggered that I was so stupid as not to trust Him before.
Indeed, why do I doubt that my Lord Jesus is truly the Lord of Resurrection? Do I really believe Him to be a God of impossibility? If He can raise people from the dead, it means He is fully capable to give life to dead, hope to hopelessness, light to darkness and joy to catastrophe. Do you believe this? This season is a real test of faith as we are undergoing this global financial tsunami. Pray that this unpredictable experience will revive and deepen our personal faith in Christ Jesus as the Lord of Resurrection (God of impossibility).
Love you because of His relentless love for us,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Devotional 051108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The world wakes up into a new chapter of American history; USA has elected the first African American President. The world had also witnessed how graciously a political opponent had accepted the loss of his election; he pledged to support the new president for the sake of his country. I pray that the government of both China and Taiwan especially, will learn from this kind of attitude in treating political disappointment. I joined my fellow Americans to salute Senator John McCain for many years of faithful service to his country, and his integrity in this campaign. Indeed, there is no better way to test a person’s integrity than the way he or she handles disappointment or suffering in life. Jesus pointed out clearly that disappointment is part of life, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). No matter how life may turn out to be (whether things turn out the way we want or not), we remain at peace in Christ with full assurance that He is the sovereign Lord of human history, in both the physical universe and in the spiritual realm. Let’s continue to watch and pray for this country where God has put us for a reason. He will use us to be light and salt in our world today.
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not directly meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you may come across in life. You may say, “Oh, I can't deal with that person.” Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to learn this lesson before Him, and you deliberately avoid it, because it seemed stupid to waste time for such person or lesson.
The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered "according to the will of God," not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to discern what God's purpose is about. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to avoid being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to carry out God's commandments by a short cut of their own. God's way is always the way of suffering, the way of the "long, long trail."
The Bible says, "Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings" (1 Peter 4:13). Are we partakers of Christ's sufferings? Are we prepared for God to remove our personal ambitions in life? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration of our individual determinations? It will not mean that we will know exactly why God is taking us on that way, lest it will lure us into spiritual pride. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less mysteriously; then we come to a glorious discovery, and say - ' 'Why, God has equipped me, though I did not know it!"
Yes, God always does thing in a mysterious manner. Though our eyes have never seen, and our ears have never heard, it does not mean God is not at work in our life right now. He is always at work in our lives simply because He loves us all. We may not appreciate the experiences that we are going through in life. But we know one thing for sure: His love for us will never change. And He will always watch over His children no matter how their lives may change.
Love you because He first loves me,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Devotional 041108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thank God for beautiful sunshine after first rain of the season. And I thank God for giving me the determination to finally begin my physical exercise, even though it has no comparison with some of your exercise program. My whole body protests against my exercise plan. But I felt the difference once I started to exercise; I feel energized!
Our devotional reading on Utmost for the Highest for today also addressed the similar issue.
It is essential to give people a chance of acting on the truth of God. The responsibility must be left with the individual, you cannot act for him, it must be his own deliberate act, but the evangelical message ought always to lead a man to act. The paralysis of refusing to act leaves a man exactly where he was before; when once he acts, he is never the same. It is the foolishness of it that stands in the way of hundreds who have been convicted by the Spirit of God. Immediately when I rush myself over into action toward His prompting, that second I live; all the rest is existence. The moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my whole will toward the Will of God.
The Bible said, “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8a). So never allow a truth of God that is brought home to your soul to pass without acting on it, not necessarily physically, but in your will. Record it, with ink or with blood. The weakest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is liberated on the second he acts; all the almighty power of God is on his behalf. We come up to the truth of God, we confess we are wrong, but go back again; then we come up to it again, and go back; until we learn that we have no business to go back. We have to go clean over on some word of our redeeming Lord and transact business with Him. His word "come" means "transact business." "Come unto Me." The last thing we do is to come; but everyone who does come knows that the second we take action, the supernatural rush of the life of God invades him instantly. The dominating power of the world, the flesh and the devil is paralyzed, not by your act, but because your act has linked you on to God and His redemptive power.
Procrastination is the common problem of most Christians. We know what is the right thing to do or God’s calling for us to act, but take no action. We sat there all day wishing we could be a better Christian or a doer of faith, yet we failed to act. Satan likes to nurture this kind of procrastination in us, and we always wonder why we are not growing individually and as a church. Once we are finally sick and tired of our inaction and start acting on our faith, then we realize the supreme power of God is so available to help us grow and impact the world.
This is my prayer that you will stop giving excuse to yourself and act on your obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit now. I am sure you will experience God in a fresh new way that you have never had before when you act out your faith.
Love you because of the love of the Triune God,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Devotional 031108

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for the moist, fresh and cool autumn weather that we have this morning. Rain is truly a gift from above; without rain we can’t survive too long. A lot of time, we care more about our convenience in doing thing (dry road condition for smooth traffic) than our need for some important element for life. Earning money for financial convenience is not wrong. But if we let it dictate our relationship with God and with our loved ones, we will eventually suffer from losing the most important element of life. We may have financial freedom but we loss our quality of life; this is not the kind of life that God intended for us to live. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:24-26) As we start a new week of service in wherever you are, we will start with the right perspective and priority about life and let the life of Christ shines through us.
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” (Galatians 2:20). These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me; I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ - "For My sake." It is that which makes the iron saint.
Has that break come? All the rest is religious deception. The one point to decide is - Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? I must be broken from my self-realization, and immediately that point is reached, the reality of the supernatural identification takes place at once, and the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable - "I have been crucified with Christ."
The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.
One student a year who hears God's call would be sufficient for God to have called a Christian College or Bible school into existence. This school as an organization is not worth anything, it is not for academic accomplishment; it is for nothing else but for God to have His freedom to use lives. Is He going to have freedom to use us, or are we pre-occupied with our conception of what we are going to be?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-realization or self-actualization is one of the highest form of needs to human life. Once our physical, security, love and belonging, and self-esteem needs are fulfilled, the highest need is self-actualization. This kind of observation of needs is not wrong. But when we want to become a genuine follower of Christ, we are challenged to abandon this kind of pursuit for needs in order to accomplish the abundant life that God intended for us to have. The hierarchy of needs validates a self-centered living (we have to meet those needs). A God-centered living, on a contrary, is not to focus the pursuit for my needs but for Christ; it is to abandon the effort to save myself or meet those needs. By crucifying ourselves to the cross (self denial), our lives become transformed and transcend from the obsessions or bondage of those needs; we can become truly free and fulfilled in Christ. So have a blessed day to abide in Him!
Love you hopefully not just out of my need for love :)

Preach at BACBC

Thank God for the opportunity to share His Word at 2 Cantonese Services of Bay Area Chinese Bible Church. We appreciated the hospitality of the pastoral team, and the work of God among the two congregations. Praise the Lord!