Thursday, January 29, 2009

Devotional 290109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Time went by so fast this morning in just running errands. But errands are part of lives and ministry, through which God may use to shape our humility and faithfulness. We prefer someone run the errands so that we can focus on the ‘great’ and ‘important’ things in ministry. As servant or deacon (slave) of Christ, we are called to run errands for His Kingdom, and there is no distinction of which is big or small. We learn to do whatever it is necessary out of our love for Christ.

"Who are You, Lord?" (Acts 26:15) "The Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand." There is no escape when Our Lord speaks; He always comes with an arrestment of the understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you in the language you know best, not through your ears, but through your circumstances.

God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. "I know this is what I should do" - and suddenly the voice of God speak in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We have shown our ignorance of Him in the very way we determined to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, we hurt Him by our advocacy for Him; we push His claims in the spirit of the devil. Our words sound all right, but our spirit is that of an enemy. "He rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of." The spirit of our Lord in an advocate of His is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Have I been persecuting Jesus by a zealous determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty and yet have hurt Him in doing it, I may be sure it was not my duty, because it has not fostered the meek and quiet spirit, but the spirit of self-satisfaction. We imagine that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord - "I delight to do your will, O My God."

Your work in the office or at home is your vocation or calling of God at this point of time. He puts you there for a purpose. Therefore do it wholeheartedly and cheerfully for Him.

Love you in Him,Lawrence

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Devotional 280109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The devotional reading was on the ‘Transfiguration of Jesus’ recorded in Matthew 17 at our prayer meeting. Again, the intimate proclamation of God for His Son touched my spirit deeply, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matt 17:5) The only command that our Heavenly Father gave to Jesus’ disciples was: ‘listen to Him!’ God did not say ‘serve Him,’ or ‘do great things for Him’ but 'listen to Him.' Attentive listening to Christ is all that matters in our relationship with God. On a contrary, if we listen to our own ambition to be godly or to be great, we will easily fall into the temptation that Apostle Paul was in before his conversion.

"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 26:14b) Am I set on my own way for God like Paul did when he was a Pharisee? We are never free from this snare until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire (cleansing of our sins and self-reliance). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are stubborn and self-willed and set upon our own ambitions (even a religious one), we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our rights and insist that this is what we intend or determine to do, we are persecuting Jesus. Whenever we stand on our dignity we systematically irritate and grieve His Spirit; and when the knowledge comes home that it is Jesus Whom we have been persecuting all the time, it is the most crushing revelation there could be.

Is the word of God tremendously intense to me as I hand it on to you, or does my life contradict to the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of one thing only - a perfect oneness with the Father, and He says, "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" (Matt 11:28). All I do ought to be founded on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that I can be easily put upon, easily over-reached, easily ignored; but if I submit to it for His sake, I prevent Jesus Christ being persecuted.

The warning of Christ in Matthew 7:21-23 always ring in my ear, “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. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy (or preach) in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” I can’t imagine how it may feel when a minister is admonished in the last day, after dedicating a lifetime in full time ministry. He might have accomplished great things for Christ, built mega-sized church, raised multi-millions dollars for missions. Yet at the end, his ambition was in vain. Jesus said, ‘I never knew you!’ To be oneness with Christ is to be obedient to His will but not our ambition for Him.

Father, help me not to impose my own ambition to your will. When I am too busy to abide in you, I know it is not within your will, no matter how excited or worthy is my work. Satan likes to lure me away from you by wonderful ‘good work.’ Help me to watch out of this snare. Help me learn from your humble and gentle heart, which is to surrender my will to your purpose and sovereign will in my life. Put to death my craving for attention and recognitions. Give me the desire of your Glory, which is only available for those who are genuinely humble and meek in heart. Amen.

Love you for His Glory,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Devotional 270109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is a great pleasure to serve Christ and to enjoy His love each day. No matter where you are today, I hope you will pause and enjoy His presence. Again, this is for our own good to draw close to the Almighty God. He is the lover of our soul. He cares for us more than He cares for what we can do for Him.

"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?" (Matthew 6:25). A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring tides of this intrusion. If it does not come on the line of clothes and food, it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or lack of friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one steady intrusion all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the standard against it, these things will come in like a flood.

"Do not worry about your life... No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money," says our Lord - "concern your relationship to Me more than all others." Common sense shouts loud and says - "That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink." Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.

"Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34b). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little devils have been looking in and saying to you: “Now what are you going to do next month - this summer?” “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” Jesus says in Matthew 6:34a. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the "much more" of your heavenly Father. Or else, you will be tempted to worry; look inward to rely on your own strength and resources.

Paul said in Ephesians 5:16, "Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." The evil temptation tries to stop us from doing great things for the Lord, from experiencing His greatness in our lives, from investing our lives for His purpose. Do not give Satan the foothold to lure us away from God’s wonderful plan for our lives. We only have ONE Master to please; it is definitely not the world or our earthly boss. We are called to be faithful servants. By faithfully exercising our God given gifts and talents, we desire to please our Heavenly Father, who will provide all our needs on earth today.

Love you by His strength,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Devotional 260109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Happy Chinese New Year! I pray that our Lord will grant you strength, endurance and faithfulness like ox that labors in field with whatever hardship and unpredictable weather. We definitely need this kind of stamina to sail through the economic tsunami of 2009. With our hope in Christ and the help from God, we know we can face all kinds of circumstances with ease and joy.

"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, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30) A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple. How are we going to be simple with the simplicity of Jesus? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, obeying Him as He brings the word of God, and life will become amazingly simple. "Consider," says Jesus, "how much more your Father Who clothes the grass of the field will clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him." Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion it has been because we have conducted our lives as though we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the "much more" of our Heavenly Father.

"Behold the birds of the air" - their main aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your 'feathers.'

"Consider the lilies of the field" - they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the "much more," it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself for one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. It is a life-long and daily process. Am I continually separating myself to consider God in every day of my life?

During this season of economic crisis, I believe God wants us to learn to depend on Him and experience Him as the Provider of life. Does your God know better? Is He more capable than you ever imagine? Will He be able to carry you through your financial difficulties? Will He keep His promises in the Bible? How would He want you to rejoice in simplicity of abidance in Him? Indeed, this is the season to practice our faith and our life as a community of faith – to love one another not only in words but in action.

Love you in His abundant joy,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Devotional 230109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I pray that you will have a pleasant communion with the Lord this day. While I was driving to office this morning, the tugging of the Holy Spirit in my meditation was to spend more time with Him. I have been very busy and always pre-occupied by ministry planning and follow up work. I found that the more busy I was the more inadequate I became. So the calling of my inadequacy is to draw close to the Lord. Then, in our staff prayer meeting this morning, we came to Matthew 14 (we read one chapter a day), where it talked about how Jesus deliberately retreated to quiet place for solitude time after his public ministry. Repeatedly, the Holy Spirit reminded me the importance of spending time with Him for inner strength, so that I can handle His work like the way Jesus did. He knows how inadequate we are to fulfill His purpose for us. Therefore, abiding in Him is the key. And Jesus set us an example in this discipline.

Look at how Paul described his own spiritual formation, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). The outstanding characteristic of a Christian is this unveiled frankness before God so that the life becomes a mirror for other lives. By being filled with the Spirit we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors. You always know when a man has been beholding the glory of the Lord, you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord's own character. Beware of anything which would smear that mirror in you; it is nearly always a good thing in life that distracts our time with the Lord, but ‘the good’ is not ‘the best.’ Let’s encourage and remind each other not to let earthly concerns to replace our communion with God, which is the primary and most important priority each day.

The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else - work, clothes, food, everything on earth - go by the board, saving that one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God. Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the one thing that always tends to fluctuate but it ought not to. The severest discipline of a Christian's life is to learn how to keep " beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord."

Whenever you think you have no time to spend with the Lord, you basically accept the idea that spending time with God is not the top priority or most important element of your life. I don’t think our Holy Spirit will get upset with you like your significant other may… But you will gradually fall into Satan’s snare and entangled by worldly concerns. Eventually you will loss touch with your inner freedom, peace and joy that Jesus came to give you – the abundant life from above. Make sure you don't give Satan this foothold!

Love you because of His New Commandment,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Devotional 220109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The misty and rainy weather made us feel like staying in the comfort of our bed. But there is so much in life that God has prepared for us to explore and be blessed. Yes, life is bigger than work. But work is a big part of our lives that we can experience God's molding and creative power. That’s why God put Adam to work in the Garden of Eden from day one, even though God has provided abundantly for Adam and Eve to enjoy before they even start their work in the Garden. Therefore, work is more than just a means to make end meet. Work is a blessing to experience His creative power that Creator God has installed within us, since our conception in our mothers’ womb. And molding is part of His continuous work of creation.

"Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other…" (Isaiah 45:22). Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says - Turn to me or look unto me, and be saved. The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is, in effect - Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ. "Turn to me."

Many of us have a mental conception of what a Christian should be, and the lives of the saints become a hindrance to our concentration on God. There is no salvation in this way; it is not simple enough. "Turn to me " and - not "you will be saved," but "you are saved." The very thing we look for, we shall find if we will concentrate on Him. We get preoccupied and resentful with God, while all the time He is saying - "Look up and be saved." The difficulties and trials - the casting about in our minds as to what we shall do this summer, or to-morrow, all vanish when we look to God.

Wake up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and look to Him. "Turn to me," and salvation is, the moment you look. It is important to reprioritize our lives in the midst of busyness and stress. When we are under stress, we are driven by a sense of urgency; we do what others think important and urgent. We become restless and frustrated in spinning ourselves in worry and fear. We don’t understand why we are so fatigue and going nowhere. We just feel like we can’t stop worrying. We allow noisiness of our fears and worry crowd out the little small voice of God within us saying, “Turn to me…”

Fixate not on the bad news of our economy but on the Good News of our Lord Jesus. Yes, we need to know what is happening around us. But in the midst of a hopeless and fearful world, we fixate on the inner voice of the Lord calling out to us, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth… Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).”

Your brother in Christ,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Devotional 210109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. God is so real to us if we seek to follow Him. He cares for us more than we cares for our children. Sometimes, we may spoil our children because of our love. Our love is so limited and fragile simply because we are finite human being. But our Heavenly Father is infinite. He controls our future and He knows what is best for our well being. He gives and takes away what will benefit us the most. The more we have assurance of His love for us, the more we may let go and give Him the freedom to do His job. That’s why Paul testify out of experience, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:11-13). No matter what may happen to us in life, we are content to know that our Heavenly Father will care for us, and He will give us the best for our well being because He is love.

On our part, what we need to focus is to nurture our love for Him each day. God said, "I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown" (Jeremiah 2:2). Am I as spontaneously passionate to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be passionate to me? Am I full of the little things that cheer His heart over me, or am I complaining because things are going hardly with me? There is no joy in the soul that has forgotten what God treasures. It is a great thing to think that Jesus Christ has need of me, like the way He requested the Samaritan woman at the well - "Give Me water to drink." How much kindness have I shown Him this past week? Have I been kind to His reputation in my life?

God is saying to His people – “You are not in love with Me now, but I remember the time when you were…I remember . . .how as bride you loved me." Am I as full of the extravagance of love to Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He find me recalling the time when I did not care for anything but Himself? Am I there now, or have I become wise over loving Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no account of where I go? Or am I watching for the respect due to me; weighing how much service I ought to give?

If, as I recall what God remembers about me, I find He is not what He used to be to me, let it produce shame and humiliation, because that shame will bring the godly sorrow that works repentance. As sinful human being, we will avoid shame and humiliation at all cost. This tendency will only drive us toward hypocritical behavior. Instead, God wants us to honestly confess our sins and recognize our weaknesses, so that we will be open to God’s cleansing and empowerment in our lives. I believe the word of God for the Church of Laodicea also applies to us today, “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev. 3:18-19).

How blessed we are to be His children! He cares and He disciplines. Amen.

Love you in Christ,Lawrence

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Devotional 200109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. This morning, the whole nation focused on the inauguration of our new President. The excitement was high as well as the expectation. The whole world expects this new President can change the tide of the economic tsunami, but he is only a man; he is not the Messiah nor god. We pray that our new President will learn to place his trust in the Almighty God, who alone can give him wisdom and strength to lead this nation and this world. We heard the slogan “Yes we can!” repeatedly at the victory night of the election. If this nation learns to fear God as her forefathers did, then I will echo passionately, “Yes we can!” Otherwise, this slogan remains empty words that leads us to nowhere. The more we become self-reliance or self-centered, the more we will go down the spiral of self-destructions. May God have mercy on us!

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Sometimes we are fresh or vibrant for a prayer meeting but not fresh or vibrant for cleaning house! Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself. We do not know where it begins; it is hidden away in the depths of our personal life. Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning; a freshness or vibrant all the time in thinking and in talking and in living, the continual surprise of the life of God.

Staleness or self-centeredness is an indication of something out of joint with God - "I must do this thing or it will never be done." That is the first sign of staleness. Are we freshly born this minute or are we stale, raking in our minds for something to do? Freshness does not come from obedience but from the Holy Spirit; obedience keeps us in the light as God is in the light.

Guard jealously your relationship to God. Jesus prayed, "that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:22b) – let nothing stand between you and God. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ; don't pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we generally take it to mean. It gives us a new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh and vibrant for everything by the permanent supply of the life of God. Each day, we should drink from this source of life, in order to truly make a difference in our own world, at our home or in our nation. By the mercy and strength of our Holy Spirit, we can really say, “Yes we can!” And each day will be fresh and vibrant because He lives in and among us. Amen?

Love you because of this freshness in God,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Devotional 190109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is nice to have a day off on Martin Luther King’s birthday. And this day is particularly historical as our country is about to install the first African American President. No matter how our view or opinion may be different toward this new President, the Bible teaches us to respect and pray for leaders above us, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…Show proper respect to everyone; love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king/President (1 Peter 2:15-17)…I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings/President and all those in authority (1 Tim 2:1-2),” because it is the God of history who put him in that office. And I sincerely pray that our new President will encounter our Lord Jesus Christ in a fresh new way, while he serves this enormous task with trembling and fear.
An interesting description in Genesis 15:12 caused us to reflect upon the vision of God, “A horror of great darkness fell upon him…” Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint's duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen. This happened to Apostle Paul when the Lord met him on the road to Damascus, where he planned to persecute the followers of Christ. He was blinded by the light of God and was in darkness for three days. During those days, I am sure Paul went through a lot of reflections and self evaluation. That encounter or vision of God totally shattered Paul’s theology and religiosity. He was a new person and his purpose of life completely transformed.
Genesis 16 is an illustration of listening to good advice when it is dark instead of waiting for God to send the light. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will wait His time. Never try and help God fulfill His word. Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure or depression. Never pump up joy and confidence, but stay upon God. Our Lord warned His children in Isaiah 50:10, 11 by saying, “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, TRUST in the name of the Lord and RELY on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: you will lie down in torment.
Have I any confidence in the flesh? Or have I got beyond all confidence in myself and in men and women of God; in books and prayers and ecstasies; and is my confidence placed now in God Himself, not in His blessings? "I am the Almighty God" - El-Shaddai, the Father-Mother God. The one thing for which we are all being disciplined is to know that God is real. As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.
I pray that this “darkness” of God will come upon our new President, so that he will learn not to depend on his own wisdom and knowledge, but to rely on God who ultimately put him in office. If God’s willing, I pray that such darkness/vision of God will also come upon you and me, so that we will grow in our trust and obedience toward Him even more each day.
Love you by the mercy of God,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Preaching at BACBC Mandarin Service

Thank God for giving me the opportunity to preach at the Mandarin service of BACBC this morning. This church sent out one of their members to Mexico City to support our GOI Missionary there. Praise the Lord for His provision, and His work in Karol's life. Please pray for her and her needs for 4 months.
Another bonus was to have lunch with my former coworker at Cumberland, Amelia Sun and her husband, who is serving at BACBC right now.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Devotional 160109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Many passengers expressed their heartfelt gratitude toward the two pilots, after their amazing landing of the US Air on Hudson River in New York yesterday. It was indeed the skill and smart decision of the pilot that saved the passengers of that flight. It was also amazing how a busy Hudson River would become an open runway for this huge airplane at that period of time. That’s why some thanked God for this miraculous timing. None can explain why that could happen. But for the passengers, they were glad to be alive and saved – I hoped this accident would become a life changing experience for those on board the flight; they would treasure their lives and re-evaluate their purpose of living. I hope we don’t need to wait for an accident like this to reconsider our life purpose. It would be a big regret if we fail to fully live out the purpose of life that God has intended for us. God is raising the same question as He did to Isaiah today, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8b) How would you answer as you hear that call?

When we speak of the call of God, we are apt to forget the most important feature, and that is the nature of the One Who calls. There is the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers, but these calls are only heard by the few. The call is the expression of the nature from which it comes, and we can only record the call if the same nature is within us. The call of God is the expression of God's Nature, not of our nature. There are messages or situations of the call of God providentially at work for us, which we recognize and no one else does. It is the threading of God's voice to us in some particular matter, and it is no use consulting anyone else about it. We have to keep that profound relationship between our souls and God.

The call of God is not the echo of my nature; my characters and personal temperament are not considered. As long as I consider my personal temperament and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God. But when I am brought into relationship with God, I am in the condition Isaiah was in. Isaiah's soul was so attuned to God by the tremendous crisis he had gone through that he recorded the call of God to his amazed soul. The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered.

I wondered how many lives had been altered, as the passengers stood on the wings of the plane on Hudson River, puzzling of their amazing survival. I remembered how my life was altered after I realized that God had spared me from a deadly boat crash; it was when I dedicated my life to God at the bank of Pearl River. I had no regret ever since, and God has been kindly shaping and using my life for His purpose. You will have no regret as you ‘risk’ your lives in God’s hand. He will definitely make you as blessings to many…

Love you in Christ,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Devotional 150109

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Good morning. Praise God for this wonderful day. Praise God for the way He creates us that we can feel the fresh air, sunshine, smell the fragrance of nature, appreciate the beauty that He designed for us to enjoy…However all these wonderful things on earth will become strangely dim when compare to the glory and beauty of the Lord. If we are fascinated by the wonder of His earthly creation, I believe we have yet explored the wonder of His spiritual realm. Even if God allows us to perceive His eternal glory like the way John experienced and talked about in Revelation, we will become speechless or beyond words to describe. Many Christians throughout centuries shared the same experience; they could not find the right word or vocabulary to describe what they saw in prayer or in the spiritual realm. Even when they tried, they took the risk to be perceived as cult or deviated teaching. They were similar to those “after-life or near death” experiences that many found it hard to describe.

We shouldn’t demand any extraordinary experiences from the Lord even though we desire to enter the glory of the Lord. This is the gift from God. Do you remember how the Lord replied to two disciples who requested to sit next to Him in His Kingdom? "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father" (Matt 20:22-23). In the same token, it is God who has perfect wisdom to grant His gifts to us according to His will. We can only ask ourselves to imitate Christ on earth and desire to emerge into Him like fish desires to enter into ocean daily.

When he explained the meaning of baptism to the Corinthians, Paul said, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection" (Romans 6:4-5). No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a "white funeral" - the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crisis of death, sanctification is nothing more than a vision. There must be a "white funeral," - a death that has only one resurrection - a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can upset such a life; it is one with God for one purpose, to be a witness to Him.

Have you come to your last days really? You have come to them often in sentiment, but have you come to them really? You cannot go to your funeral in excitement, or die in excitement. Death means you stop being. Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go to death. It is not striving to go to death, it is dying - "baptized into His death."

Have you had your "white funeral," or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul? Is there a place in your life marked as the last day, a place to which the memory goes back with a chastened and extraordinarily grateful remembrance - "Yes, it was then, at that 'white funeral,' that I made an agreement with God."

"This is the will of God, even your sanctification." When you realize what the will of God is, you will enter into sanctification as naturally as can be. Are you willing to go through that "white funeral" now? Do you agree with Him that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends upon you.

Let’s remind one another to abide in Him at all time, and put our old self to death, so that the resurrection power of Christ will transform us into the kind of being He desires.

Love you by the power of His resurrection,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Devotional 140109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. God is at work and He is at work all the time. The question is whether we are aware of His work among us. We don’t listen because of our pre-occupation by so many concerns in life. We assume God will only speak to us when we open the Bible or when we pray. Yes, we are more conscious of God’s small voice when we open the Bible or set our mind to pray. But God is at work and continue to communicate to us if we care to listen. The word ‘disposition’ is so essential for our spiritual sensitivity. It means our ‘outlook, character or orientation’ in life. It implies a decision on our part to choose God over other things as our main and primary desire. The goal of our spiritual formation is to truly let God be the Lord of our lives, or let the life of Christ be fully form within us.

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8). God did not address the call to Isaiah; Isaiah overheard God saying, "Who will go for us?" The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone. Whether or not I hear God's call depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my disposition. "Many are called but few are chosen" (Matt 20:16), that is, few prove themselves the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ whereby their disposition has been altered and their ears unstopped, and they hear the still small voice questioning all the time, "Who will go for us?"

It is not a question of God singling out a man or woman and saying, "Now, you go." God did not lay a strong compulsion on Isaiah; Isaiah was in the presence of God and he overheard the call, and realized that there was nothing else for him but to say, in conscious freedom, "Here am I, send me." Get out of your mind the idea of expecting God to come with compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples there was no irresistible compulsion from outside. The quiet passionate insistence of His "Follow Me" was spoken to men and women with every power wide-awake. If we let the Spirit of God bring us face to face with God, we too shall hear something similar to what Isaiah heard, the still small voice of God; and in perfect freedom will say, "Here am I; send me."

Our Triune God always speak to one another as He sees the rebellion and the suffering of mankind, “Who will go for us?” God is not helpless just as we are. He prefers to involve His people to demonstrate His love and plan for mankind. God is waiting for those who ‘desire to be chosen’ to carry out His will in human history. God is always at work. He desires His children to co-labor with Him as well…Do you want to be His chosen one?

Love you in accordance to His will,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Devotional 130109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather is amazingly warm even though this may be the abnormal consequence of global warming problem. Some one asked me last night whether global warming is one of the sign of the end time. We are in the end time and we have enough signs to tell us that Jesus will come back at any time. Let’s not concern so much on the exact timing of His return. If Jesus did not want to disclose His timing, let’s not waste our time to predict as though we know better than our Lord Jesus. God wants us to be prepared at all time for His second coming. The way to do it is to draw close to the Lord. We will find more assurance of His presence when we enter into solitude time with Christ. Sometimes God will also use suffering to draw us closer to Him

When God gets us alone by affliction, heartbreak, or temptation, by disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by a broken friendship, or by a new friendship - when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are dumbfounded, and cannot ask one question, then He begins to explain His Truth to us. Watch Jesus Christ's training of the twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were confused. They constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly explained things to them; but they only understood after they had received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

If you are going on with God, the only thing that is clear to you, and the only thing God intends to be clear, is the way He deals with your own soul. Your brother's sorrows and perplexities are an absolute confusion to you. We imagine we understand where the other person is, until God gives us a dose of the plague of our own hearts. There are whole tracts of stubbornness and ignorance to be revealed by the Holy Spirit in each one of us, and it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now, or are we taken up with little fussy notions, fussy comradeships in God's service, fussy ideas about our bodies? Jesus can explain nothing until we get through all the noisy questions of the head and are alone with Him.

If we don’t draw close to our Lord, we will naturally focus on our environment, which will only make us more fearful and confused. Let’s not give foothold to Satan by yielding to our worry, especially during this difficult down time of our economy. Instead, remember what the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7-10, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Love you in the Lord,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Devotional 120109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I am taking a day off from my busy schedule ever since I came back from my last trip. There are so much I need to follow up at work that I need to rest in Him in order to recharge my inner strength. We all need to take a break in order to regain focus and energy. Otherwise, we will easily fall into Satan's temptation while we are in auto-pilot mode.

The Bible says, "He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything" (Mark 4:34). Our Solitude with Christ is essential to our well being as His disciples. Jesus does not take us alone and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we can understand them. Other lives are parables. God is making us spell out our own souls. It is slow work, so slow that it takes God all time and eternity to make a man and woman after His own purpose. The only way we can be of use to God is to let Him take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride. Jesus reveals to us all that this body has been harboring before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look in our own characters with courage?

We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves; it is the last arrogance to go. The only One who really understands us is God. The greatest curse in spiritual life is arrogance or pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we shall never say - "Oh, I am so unworthy," because we shall know we are, beyond the possibility of stating it. As long as we are not quite sure that we are unworthy, God will keep narrowing us in until He gets us alone. Wherever there is any element of pride or arrogance, Jesus cannot explain a thing. He will take us through the disappointment of a wounded pride of intellect, through disappointment of heart. He will reveal excessive affection - things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. We listen to many things in sermon or Bible classes, but they are not an exposition to us yet. They will be when God gets us alone over them.

Satan will do whatever to distract us from spending solitude time with God. He will give us all kinds of excuse or justification not to do so. We believe our own justification: “I really don’t have time to do so…even if I do, I can’t focus or get anything out of it. I am a doer but not a thinker. I don’t like to read books. I will fall asleep when I start meditating. I think I receive enough spiritual feeding by attending church service and fellowship. I don’t need to spend time to be alone with God. It is kind of scary and uncomfortable to do so anyway…” If those justifications sound familiar to you, they are the temptations of Satan that nurture your pride as though you know what you need better than what God says you need. The more you surrender to those excuses, the more you are yielding your soul to Satan and suffer in his endless manipulations. Moreover, he will use you to stumble other believers and pre-Christian friends as a result; young Christians will follow your bad example and pre-Christians will not see the work of Christ in your life. Have mercy on us O Lord! Strengthen our daily walk with you so that we are enlightened to see who we are and what you desire for us to be today.

Love you because of the stubborn love of God,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Devotional 090109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. May this gorgeous day bring you great excitement and passion for living! Even though we should not allow the environment to dictate our feeling, we will certainly enjoy a beautiful day like we have today. The goal of spiritual formation should be to train our soul and spirit to submit under the work or leadership of God. But in practicality, this goal could be too profound or abstract for many Christians to understand.

"May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:23b). What Paul said here, "Your whole spirit" is beyond the philosophy of Science and Psychology can explain. The great mystical work of the Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality, which we cannot get at. Read the 139th Psalm; the Psalmist implies - "You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late at nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea; but, my God, my soul has further horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature - You Who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at - my God, search me out."

Do we believe that God can garrison the imagination far beyond where we can go? "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" - if that means in conscious experience only, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been made insensitive by sin will say he is not conscious of sin. Cleansing from sin is to the very heights and depths of our spirit if we will keep in the light as God is in the light, and the very Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirits. It is only when we are garrisoned by God with the awesome sanctity of the Holy Spirit, that spirit, soul and body are preserved in unspotted integrity, undeserving of censure in God's sight, until Jesus comes.

We do not allow our minds to dwell, as they should on these great massive truths of God. I believe the problem we usually have is to reduce God to the level that our imagination or reason can reach. We don’t allow God to be God. We can’t accept the awesome sanctity of the Holy Spirit to reach our spirit beyond our rational mind can comprehend. Have mercy on us O Lord! Give us the serenity or security to dwell in you, even though our mind cannot comprehend or fully grasp the way You work in our spirit and soul. It reminded me of what Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Whoever is born of the Spirit inherits the DNA of the Spirit, and lives in accordance to the work of the Holy Spirit. We will see and hear the fruits of the Holy Spirit even though we can’t fully comprehend nor explain how He works. This is the kind of obedience by faith that the Bible talks about from day one. Hopefully we learn to allow this kind of ‘faith’ to lead our ‘reason’ in our daily walks with Christ.

Love you in accordance to the Spirit,

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Devotional 080109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. What a wonderful morning we have! It is indeed a day worth living because of the new purpose we found in Christ. We don’t just survive for another day without knowing what it is for. We wake up to a new day with this new purpose of giving our best to His highest call. I don’t know what God may have prepared for me to encounter today. I just venture out with the determination to live my life to the fullest in accordance to the purpose that God has designed. The devotional of Oswald Chambers reminded us of what it means to give ourselves as living sacrifice each day.

"When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son…" (Genesis 22:9-10). This incident is a picture of the common mistake we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not - I am willing to go to death with Christ, but - I am willing to be identified with His death so that I may sacrifice my life to God. We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having - viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.

It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a "living sacrifice," to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This is the thing that is acceptable to God. Paul said, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:1-2). A living sacrifice is a renewed value system or priority in our daily life. We don’t just give up everything for Christ, without living our life fully for His purpose.

May you enjoy this day that the Lord has made for you…and let your Holy Spirit to renew your thought, your feeling and your desires. So that you may fully experience this new and abundant life that He has designed for you.

Love you in Christ,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Devotional 070109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for the ‘present’ of today. Yesterday was history. Tomorrow is a myth. Only today is a ‘present or gift’ from our Creator God. That’s why we should treasure and fully enjoy today that our God has made for us. As long as we have breath on earth, let us use this gift to praise the Lord and live for His glory. Amen?

"Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? " (John 14:9) Our Lord Jesus did not say these words as a rebuke against Philip, or express His surprise by his question. Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with whom we get intimate or draw close should be Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival on earth (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come when Jesus declared, " I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life on earth is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him as an intimate friend?

Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away because I am going there to prepare a place for you." - in that relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:1-4).

When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss or void of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

That’s why it is to our advantage when we draw close to our Lord in our daily walks of life. He is always there to embrace us when we commit ourselves to enjoy ‘today’ with Him.

Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Devotional 060109

Dear brothers and sisters,

Good morning. My schedule was fully packed this morning. There was so much to catch up with in the office when full staff returned to work. God is merciful to give us a role in His Kingdom. We certainly do not deserve to be on His team. Yet, He chooses to us each one of us to fulfill His salvation plan on earth. Our calling as His children is to worship and love Him with all our being. There is no better way than to summarize the whole Law (Divine standard for Godly living) into one word – LOVE. That’s why to our Lord Jesus, the Greatest Commandment is to “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37, 39). And Jesus also said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34, 35).

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others.

In the Old Testament, Bethel is the symbol of communion with God, while Ai is the symbol of the world. The Bible said, “From there Abraham went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the Lord.” Abraham built his tent and altar between the two. The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him. Rush is wrong every time, there is always plenty of time to worship God. Quiet days with God may be a snare. We have to build our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be. There are not three stages in spiritual life - worship, waiting and work. Some of us go in jumps like spiritual frogs, we jump from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work. God's idea is that the three should go together simultaneously. They were always together in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was never haste though he was busy (his schedule was always packed). It is a discipline of life; there is no shortcut to attain to this goal.

May your life is balanced by your communion with God and active service in the world. Amen!

Love you because of His new commandment,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Devotional 050109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Our Heavenly Father is good. He is a good Father/teacher. As a Creator, He knows each of our needs in terms of our growth as a person. He will not shape us uniformly but individually. Therefore, we cannot compare ourselves with others as though God is not fair in dealing with us than to others. He has individual plan for each one of us. He has special purpose in shaping us the way we are. And He will use us in according to the way He designs us to be, as long as we are willing to submit ourselves to His hand. God knows how fragile and weak we are when comes to fulfilling His Master Plan for mankind. Thus, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher/Encourager. Before Jesus empowered the disciples with the Holy Spirit, He said to them, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later" (John 13:36). It is true that the disciples would not be able to follow Jesus into martyrdom at that time – an ultimate self-denial, simply because it is beyond human nature. But when our Lord knew that we were ready for greater challenge after He bestowed His Spirit unto us, He would issue another call to us just like He did to Peter, "And when He had spoken this (the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God), He said to Peter, 'Follow Me!'" (John 21:19)

Three years before, Jesus had said to Peter, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (John 13:36) At that time, Peter had followed easily because the fascination of Jesus was upon him, he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him to do it. Then he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit, and now Jesus says again - "Follow me." There is no figure in front now saving the Lord Jesus Christ. The first "Follow Me" had nothing mystical in it; it was an external following. But now it is a following in internal martyrdom when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18).

Between these times Peter had denied Jesus with oaths and curses, he had come to the end of himself and all his self-sufficiency, there was not one strand of himself he would ever rely upon again, and in his destitution he was in a fit condition to receive an impartation from the risen Lord. "He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…’" No matter what changes God has formed in you, never rely upon them; build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.

All our vows and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to carry them out. When we have come to the end of ourselves, not in imagination but really, we are able to receive the Holy Spirit. " Receive the Holy Spirit " - the idea is that of invasion. There is only one lodestar in the life now, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s not underestimate the role and power of our Holy Spirit within each one of us. He dwells in us for the purpose to empower our will and being in following Christ and to do His Will. Confess to Him of how much and how often we have ignored His presence. Surrender our will to Him so that He can shape us into the new being that He intended for us to be. May you continue to grow more like Him in the year to come.

Love you by the strength of our Holy Spirit,

Friday, January 2, 2009

Devotional 020109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I hope you had an enjoyable New Year day like I did; the weather was just so wonderful. It is also enjoyable to have a quiet and misty morning to begin my first day of work in 2009. To me, 2008 was indeed a year of transitional adventure. I was glad that God put me in a mental stage of inadequacy; every assignment was new lesson to explore more about my job and what this organization stands for. “Let me check with my boss” was my frequent reply to question related to my work. It was hard in the beginning to feel so dumb and ignorant. But after a while, I felt liberated from being always the “answering machine” that has to know what I am doing and “in control” at all time. Isn’t it what Christian life to be? We learn to “check with our God” before we can have confidence to know what to do next.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8). Have you been "going out" to places in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are going to do. I could identify with this passage, because it was how I felt call to step out of my comfort zone to obey His leadership. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do next?" You want to be in control of your future. But in reality, you do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning when you wake up, it is to be a "going out" by faith, building in confidence on God. "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear " (Matthew 6:25) - take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He only reveals to you who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised at anything He does in your life?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him - what an unnecessary worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an indescribable charm about it, which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.

Life is a never-ending adventure. Some may prefer high risk and other may prefer less. However, God will bring you surprise in life that you have least expected. Those are the times when God wants you to draw close to Him and trust Him more. No matter what 2009 may bring to you, I pray that you will grow in your relationship with Him and seek to obey His leadership.

Love you in Christ,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Devotional

Dear brothers and sisters,
Happy New Year! May this New Year bring you closer to the Lord and experience Him in a very intimate way. I wish to encourage you with the beginning chapter of our devotional by Oswald Chambers: "My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honor to Christ in my own person by fearless courage." (Philippians 1:20)
My Utmost for His Highest. "My says eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed." We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul - "My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest." To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only - My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.
My Undeterredness for His Holiness. "Whether that means life or death, no matter!" (v.21.) Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God's order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide - for or against, and from that point the "Great Divide" begins.
If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably. God will put you in situation where we learn to surrender our will to Him so that we can experience Him in a most intimate way. We do not know how the economy may turn or when will it rebound this year. Regardless of how tomorrow may bring, let’s make this resolution to be our utmost for His Highest – not to settle with giving our minimum but our best for the Lord in accordance to His Will and His Word.
One of the most touching lessons I learnt from the Missions conference was how hundreds of missionaries from the West had committed their lives to serve God in China in the past two hundred years. Many gave their lives as well as their families’ in order to preach the gospel to our forefathers. They were nobles and highly educated people, yet they chose to leave their comfort zone, travel thousands of miles by boat, change their lifestyle and live among the poorest of the poor in China. They learnt our language, suffer rejections and hardship for only one reason: to be the utmost for His Highest or to do what Christ desires them to do. Many died without seeing the result at their live times. Yet the blood of these martyrs had primed the soil for the growth of Chinese churches today. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). When we are willing to surrender our will to live for His Highest, our lives will impact many lives in according to what He desires.
Love you because He first loved us,