Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Good morning. I deliberately came back to office a little bit earlier, so that I could spend more time with God in meditation. My schedule was really packed yesterday. I even thought I could spend time on my video project last night. But by the time I came home after I sent my friends to airport, it was almost 11 pm. Thus, I needed to recharge myself this morning by going back to the source of all strength. I learn it from our Lord Jesus who conducted himself in ministry in such manner: “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:32-35). Only when we constantly return to the reservoir of love and strength, we will pretty soon burn out from within.
"If I love you more, will you love me less?" (2 Corinthians 12:15) Natural love expects some return, but Paul says - I do not care whether you love me or not, I am willing to destitute myself completely, not merely for your sakes, but that I may get you to God. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9). Paul's idea of service is exactly along that line - I do not care with what extravagance I spend myself, and I will do it gladly. It was a joyful thing to Paul.
The ecclesiastical idea of a servant of God is not Jesus Christ's idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of other men. Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His Kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant of all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples' feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God's interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions - "Suppose God wants me to go there - what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things." All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. The apostle Paul had no reserve. Paul focuses Jesus Christ's idea of a New Testament saint in his life, which is not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives. This is the kind of life that we should be after – to follow the footsteps of Christ.
What Oswald Chambers talked about is a basic attitude of Christian living. If we sincerely acquire this kind of lifestyle or attitude in life, we will become salt and light of the world. It is this kind of lifestyle that can turn the world upside down; it is not a short-term impact but a long term one. In his speech last night, the President encouraged parents of America to spend time with their children and contribute to their growth in education. I totally agreed. But more importantly, parents need to become role model for their children in terms of their attitude in life. This is a subtle impact that parents can make to their children. As a family of God, we need to become role model for one another. Yes, we will stumble and fall from time to time. But if we set this servant attitude of Christ as a goal before us, we will encourage each other along our journey of life: “…though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). May God continue to mold me of my self-centered attitude that always become a foothold for Satan!
Love you in accordance to Christ,
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Good afternoon. My morning went by so fast with two meetings. I could hardly have time to read ‘My utmost for His Highest’ for my meditation. There was so much to catch up after I took a day off yesterday. All and all, it was a meaningful morning and two fruitful meetings as well, though I wished I could start my day to listen to God through some quiet time. Praise the Lord!
"I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well" (2 Corinthians 12:15). When the Spirit of God has shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin deliberately to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ's interests in other people, and Jesus Christ is interested in every kind of man there is. We have no right in Christian work to be guided by our kinship; this is one of the biggest tests of our relationship to Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, not fling it away, but deliberately lay my life out for Him and His interests in other people, not for a cause. Paul spent himself for one purpose only - that he might win men to Jesus Christ. Paul attracted to Jesus all the time, never to himself. "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings" (1 Cor. 9:22-23).
When a man says he must develop a holy life alone with God, he is of no more use to his fellow men: he puts himself on a platform, away from the common run of men. Paul became a sacramental personality; wherever he went, Jesus Christ helped Himself to his life. Many of us are after our own ends, and Jesus Christ cannot help Himself to our lives. If we are abandoned to Jesus, we have no ends of our own to serve. Paul said he knew how to be a "door-mat" without resenting it, because the mainspring of his life was devotion to Jesus. We are apt to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things that liberate us spiritually. That was not Paul's motive. "I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race" (Rom 9:3) - wild, extravagant - is it? When a man is in love it is not an exaggeration to talk in that way, and Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.
The kind of love is the goal of our spiritual journey with God. We learn to give ourselves totally to Christ, so that He has total freedom to do anything with our lives. Have mercy on me O Lord. Give me the burning desire from within to love you with my whole being. Purify my passion and motive, so that I totally belong to you.
Love you with His passion,
Monday, February 23, 2009
Good morning. I thank God for giving me shelter in rainstorm. It is truly His grace that we have a place call home. I don’t feel like going anywhere in this kind of unsettled weather. It is nice to have a break to stay home after a weekend of preaching marathon to spend time with the Lord in meditation. There is nothing better than to abide in the presence of Christ. No matter where you are, you may enjoy the stillness of His presence by turning to Christ too. Our sweet Holy Spirit may direct your attention to some attributes of God, or remind you of the Words of God that are relevant to your life situation. He may remind you of the sermon that you heard yesterday. Or He may point you back to your favorite scriptures that mean so much to you. Whatever He may do, let the Holy Spirit work in and through you today. Indeed, our God desires to walk and talk with you. When we have the assurance of His presence in our lives, we will have inner strength to become the kind of servant that God desires us to become.
"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Paul's idea of service is the same as Our Lord's: "I am among you as He that serves;" "ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." We have the idea that a man called to the ministry is called to be a different kind of being from other men. According to Jesus Christ, he is called to be the "door-mat" of other men; their spiritual leader, but never their superior. "I know how to be abased," says Paul. This is Paul's idea of service - "I will spend myself to the last flow away for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference." So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does. The mainspring of Paul's service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.
Paul's realization of how Jesus Christ had dealt with him is the secret of his determination to serve others. "I was before a perjurer, a blasphemer, an injurious person" - no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake.
There is so much I need to learn from this kind of servant attitude. None wants to be despised or rejected by those you serve and care for. You expect some kind of ‘appreciation’ or ‘acknowledgement’ but not hateful response. However, this is not what our Lord prepared us to do. He leaves us a higher standard of a servant leader, which is to serve and love even your enemy. This world will take Christian’s love for granted, just like we take God’s love for granted. Moreover, we even refuse to obey His Words from time to time, though we acknowledge the price He had paid on the cross for our abundant life in Christ. Our Lord continues to serve and love us regardless. Have mercy on me O Lord. Help me to become the kind of servant you want me to be. And continue to mold my attitude for your glory. Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Good morning. The weather forecast said that another rainstorm would come on Sunday. But today is another gorgeous day. Let’s fully enjoy this day that the Lord has made for us. It is a great joy to be able to utilize what He has given us at work; whether it is in the market place, at home or in a mission office. God is our ultimate boss. We are called to serve Him in wherever we are. It is not by coincidence that we are in where we are today. God has a wonderful plan that He wants to accomplish through us. The first challenge is whether we aware of His plan for us today or not. The other challenge is whether we have the courage to follow His plan. The latter requires 'trust and will' to do so. But ‘trust and will’ begin with a loving relationship. Love and trust are two sides of the same coin. And whenever there is love there is a will – determination to do good for your lover. Is your Lord Jesus really the lover of your soul today?
Jesus said, "Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” (John 14:29-31). Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. After Our Lord had said those wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected that He would tell them to go away and meditate over them all; but Our Lord never allowed, "day dreaming." When we are getting into contact with God in order to find out what He wants, dreaming is right; but when we are inclined to spend our time in dreaming over what we have been told to do, it is a bad thing and God's blessing is never on it. God's initiative is always in the nature of a stab against this kind of dreaming, the stab that bids us "neither sit nor stand but go."
If we are quietly waiting before God and He has said - "Come set yourself apart," then that is meditation before God in order to get at the line He wants; but always beware of giving over to mere dreaming when once God has spoken. Let Him be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said. If you are in love, you do not sit down and dream about the one you love all the time, you go and do something for him or her; and that is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.
Don’t misunderstand that our Lord is a driven, type A person. When our Lord appointed his 12 apostles, his expectation for them was, “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (Mark 3:14-15). It is a balance between abiding in Christ and preaching the gospel, or relationship and task. If the order of assignment signifies priority, then relationship is before task. As we talk about taking action to obey and do God’s will, we need to spend time to listen to what our Lord really wants from us. If a Christian only serves without spending time with God in silence, his or her service will soon wither. That’s why Jesus reminded Martha, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her – that is spending time with Christ” (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus is not a slave driver. We are our own slave drivers. Take time to smell the roses or appreciate the Nature. He wants to whisper His love for you.
Love you because He loves us first,
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day. After half a year of exploring my role in GO international, my life right now is packed with unfinished projects and potential missions that I wish to accomplish. It could be very stressful at time, though it is exciting. But whenever I slow down my ‘brain waves’ in meditation and journaling, I am reminded to appreciate the greatness of God and His wonderful creation in life. If we are on fast track all the time, we could easily become inhuman by trying to be superhuman; attempt to play God and try to be in control of everything we do. When we turn our eyes to the work of God through Nature, we are reminded that we are His new creation in Christ. And our existence is to accomplish His purpose on earth. A tree outside my window is a beautiful work of God. Its existence is to declare the glory of its Creator, allow birds to rest in its arms, for people to hide under its shade in summer and more. It does not accomplish ‘great things’ for God but simply be the tree God wants it to be. Amen? I like Oswald Chamber’s reminder in his devotional, to attend to the ‘little things’ in life that God will use to shape our lives for His glory.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you" (Isaiah 60:1). We have to take the first step as though God was not there for us. It is no use to wait for God to help us to do what He inspires us to do, He will not; but immediately when we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is always a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, chore becomes divinely transfigured.
Chore is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Chore is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean soiled things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of chore, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:14-17). It requires the inspiration of God to go through chores with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it consecrates that thing forever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Procrastination is a common problem for many Christians. The Bible has made it clear to them the initiative of God, and the Holy Spirit has affirmed in their hearts, yet they still wait for God to help them do what they were supposed to, especially when it comes to something that they don’t want to do like chores. Our Lord wants us to wash one another’s feet or to be servant for one another. But we will prefer to wait for others to do it. We want to do great things for God. But if we are not willing to do chore like a humble servant, no matter how great a mission you have accomplished for God, it may not be something God has in mind for you. No wondered Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “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 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!'” In another word, if a great preacher or missionary refuse to do the lowly chore that God has initiated for him to do, he is not doing the will of God. Have mercy on me O Lord. Remind me from time to time that chore is part of your shaping process for me. You use it to transform my character, which is more important than my comfort and accomplishment. Let’s hold each other accountable to be the servant of God.
Love you in Christ,
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Good morning. The weather is so beautiful after the rain. Appreciation of the Nature or Creation of God is part of devotional exercise. Of course, the focus is not on the work of His creation only. Instead, we let the work of His creation lead us to the appreciation of our Creator God. As we appreciate the beauty of His creation, we thank God for giving us the senses to perceive and respond to His amazing artwork. The book of Genesis tells us that God created the Garden of Eden or the Nature for Adam and Eve to enjoy. The Nature is His cradle for mankind; it is a sign of His provision and love. Therefore, while we still have breath, let us enjoy this life that He has given to us for His glory.
"Rise, let us go! " (Matthew 26:46a) The disciples went to sleep when they should have kept awake, and when they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of the irreparable failure is apt to make us despair, and we say - "It is all up now, it is no use trying any more." If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says - "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, that opportunity you failed to capture is lost for ever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing." Let the past sleep, but let that failure sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.
There are experiences like this in each of our lives. We are in despair, the despair that comes from actualities, and we cannot lift ourselves out of it. The disciples in this instance had done a downright unforgivable thing; they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus, but He came with a spiritual initiative against their despair and said - "Arise and do the next thing." If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing? Learn to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption.
Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action. Arise and move forward with our Master. If he allowed us to experience failure in the past, he would give us new and greater opportunity in the future to serve Him. Don’t let our past failure to cripple us from moving forward in life. Let the past bury our past. Go and follow the Lord today. Otherwise, you will regret for not capturing the opportunity that is available to you in this moment. “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:14-16).
Love you in Christ,
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Good morning. I thank God for a very fruitful weekend; celebrated the wedding ceremony of Cary and Stephanie, preached at the Indonesian Evangelical Church, and translated a song for Easter. Of course, I also relaxed and enjoyed the Sabbath with Christ. I always found it difficult to rest without feeling guilty. I felt like there were tones of work waiting for me to finish; and they seemed to complain against me saying, “why did you rest? You have not finished us yet. Come on…go back to work! If not, you will be in trouble. There woulf be bad consequence if you rest.” It is true that I am doing several people’s job in my office. But I have the freedom to determine the pace. No one gave me deadline other than myself. It is me who is the slave master for myself. I needed to slow down and don’t drive myself nut.
The Bible gives us a beautiful picture in terms of how God ministered unto Elijah. His own servant, when he was tired and depressed. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat" (1 Kings 19:5). The angel did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable; he told Elijah to do the most ordinary thing, which is to get up and eat. If we were never depressed we should not be alive; it is the nature of a crystal never to be depressed. A human being is capable of depression; otherwise there would be no capacity for exaltation. There are things that are calculated to depress; things that are of the nature of death; and in taking an estimate of yourself, always take into account the capacity for depression.
When the Spirit of God comes He does not give us visions, He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable. Depression is apt to turn us away from the ordinary commonplace things of God's creation, but whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural simple thing - the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression; we have to do the next thing and do it in the inspiration of God. If we do a thing in order to overcome depression, we deepen the depression; but if the Spirit of God makes us feel intuitively that we must do the thing, and we do it, the depression is gone. Immediately we arise and obey, we enter on a higher plane of life.
Our Creator God designs a biological cycle for our integrated body that requires rest and eating. The Bible described a balanced growth of our Lord Jesus as a human being in this way: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). It means Jesus grew mentally (wisdom), physically (stature), spiritually (favor with God) and socially (favor with men). In His divine design, God expects us to be a balanced individual. As a good steward of Christ, we are supposed to take good care of our body, which is the Temple of God (the dwelling of the Holy Spirit), in these 4 aspects. Our body will not be effect according to the will of God, if we do not grow in all 4 aspects. Heal us and strengthen us in all these area of our lives. Help us to be faithful, O Lord, in taking good care of this body that you have entrusted to our management only for a short period of time on earth. Amen.
Love you (grow in favor with you) in Christ,
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Good morning. It is so blessed to be His children that, we can go to Him whenever we need Him, just as the author of Hebrews said, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Our God is not like most people thought that He was too far, too high, and too holy for us to approach. He is always there to listen and respond. My heart and prayers went out to victims of the tragedy of Continental Airline and their families. It reminds us once again that life is truly a gift from God. We cannot take life for granted. We recognize our existence on earth each day is for a reason – and that is for the purpose of glorifying God. We have no right to bargain for extension because life is a gift that we don’t deserve at the very first place. But God wants to enrich our lives each day no matter how long we may have. The abundant life in Christ is the best gift that accompany with the earthly life we already have – it is a double blessing.
"Speak, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). Because I have listened definitely to one thing from God, it does not follow that I will listen to everything He says. The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the slowness of my heart and mind towards what He says. If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, "You are my friends." Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord's this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not consciously have disobeyed it; but most of us show such disrespect to God that we do not even hear what He says, He might never have spoken.
The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I always hear God, and I know that God always hears me (John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God, by the devotion of hearing all the time. A lily, or a tree, or a servant of God, may convey God's message to me. What hinder me from hearing is that I am pre-occupied by other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him. The child attitude is always, "Speak, for your servant is listening." If I have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God's voice at certain times or on what I want to hear; at other times I am taken up with things - things that I say I must do, and I become deaf to Him, I am not living the life of a child. Have I heard God's voice today?
Learn to make yourself available to God. Contemplative prayer is a lost art in Christianity. Contemplative prayer involves meditation and active listening. It is like what Oswald Chambers said earlier – to spend time with your beloved Lord. Don’t allow pre-occupations took you away from the presence of the Lord. From time to time, you may take a deep breath and remind your soul at the same time, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11). Then wait and focus on God with your imagination and enjoy His presence…
God loves you, and me too:)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Good morning. The weather is beautiful after the rain. Everything seems to be so crystal clear under the sun. The more I find assurance in His love, the more I am delivered from my worry. God desires us to enjoy His presence so that we will find strength to deal with different challenges in life. I want to cast my concerns to God each day, even though I still carried them on my own shoulder from time to time. As a result, anxiety builds up within me. It is totally unnecessary. But I invited those worries into my own life. How stupid I am to try to take on the world by my own strength. In the warmth of His love, I learn to relax and simply enjoy His intimate walk with me. Praise the Lord!
And they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die" (Exodus 20:19). We do not consciously disobey God; we simply do not pay attention to Him. God has given us His commands; there they are, but we do not pay any attention to them, not because of willful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him. "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). When once we realize that we have been "disrespecting" God all the time, we are covered with shame and humiliation because we have not paid attention to Him.
"Speak to us yourself ... But do not have God speak to us " We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. If it is only the servant's voice we hear, we feel it is not imperative, we can say, "Well, that is simply your own idea, though I don't deny it is probably God's truth too."
Am I putting God in the humiliating position of having treated me as a child of His while all the time I have been ignoring Him? When I do hear Him, the humiliation I have put on Him comes back on me - "Lord, why was I so dull and so stubborn?" This is always the result when once we do hear God. The real delight of hearing Him is tempered with shame in having been so long in hearing Him.
Have mercy on us O Lord. How often did we pay attention to your command and obey? We like to hear great messages delivered by eloquent speakers, or read great books that illustrated your truth. But if we do not obey what we hear, it is still just another man’s talk or opinion. Not until I sincerely love you wholeheartedly, I will still take your word for granted. My love for you is not measured by how much I know the Bible, but how much I obey your Word or your Command. Instead of giving me more ‘power’ to do your will, strengthen my love for you even more. If there is love there is a will.
God knows how limited our will and ability are, when He expects us to love Him with all our mind, all our soul, all our heart and all our strength. When we determine to love Him with the best of our ability and knowledge, He will add on to what we lack. The bottom line is how much do we love Him by obeying His Word? Don’t worry on whether we will love Him tomorrow or not. We have no control of it. And God does not hold me responsible for the unknow future. Love Him one day at a time. Obey Him one day at a time. The more we yield to our excuse and worry, the more we ignore God and paralyze our determination to obey His Word today. Let’s do it now.
Love you because He first loves us,
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Good morning. Two meetings took away my quiet time with the Lord. But if this is what the Lord allows, then I learned to accept the interruption for the love of Him. We want to be in control of our time and agenda most of the time. But as a servant (slave) of God, we don’t operate on our own agenda as though we were the Master. Yes, we should be a good steward of time and resources that our Master has given to us. But if a needy person emerges unexpectedly we learn to accept it as a divine interruption. Jesus said, “'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). None appreciates interruption especially when you have your own priority in life. In the midst of busyness, we are called to exercise compassions; and that is very challenging for modern day saints.
" You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (focus), because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3). Is your imagination stayed on God or is it starved? The starvation of the imagination is one of the most fruitful sources of exhaustion and sapping in a worker's life. If you have never used your imagination to put yourself before God, begin to do it now. It is no use waiting for God to come; you must put your imagination away from the face of idols and look unto Him and be saved. Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. If you have been bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, it will be one of the greatest assets to faith when the time of trial comes, because your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. Learn to associate ideas worthy of God with all that happens in Nature - the sunrises and the sunsets, the sun and the stars, the changing seasons, and your imagination will never be at the mercy of your impulses, but will always be at the service of God.
"We have sinned with our fathers; . . . and have forgotten" - then put a blade in the place where you have gone to sleep. "God is not talking to me just now," but He ought to be. Remember Whom you belong to and Whom you serve. Provoke yourself by recollection, and your affection for God will increase tenfold; your imagination will not be starved any longer, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.
Learn to exercise your imagination. Don’t let your work and world took away your creativity that God has given to you as a special gift. Use it to enjoy your communion with Christ.
Love you because of my union with Christ,
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Good morning. It is so refreshing after a day of Sabbath before the Lord; a day of rest and recuperate from a busy week. We all need a time to be still before the Lord instead of busy bee all the time. The more busy we are, the more self reliance we become. We will become autopilot – just keep on going. It is dangerous to put your life on autopilot mode because you will not be as alert. Satan will easily creep in to take control of your heart without you even aware of it. We need to take a break from time to time, and re-invite Jesus to come on our driver’s seat to take control of our lives. Amen?
“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? It is He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26). The people of God in Isaiah's day had starved their imagination by looking on the face of idols, and Isaiah made them look up at the heavens, that is, he made them begin to use their imagination aright. Nature to a saint is sacramental or holy. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.
The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity. Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol representing your self? Is it your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Is it your experience of salvation and sanctification? Then your imagination of God is starved, and when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God Whom you need. Go right out of yourself, away from the face of your idols, away from everything that has been starving your imagination. Rouse yourself, take the warning that Isaiah gave the people, and deliberately turn your imagination to God.
One of the reasons of confusion in prayer is that there is no imagination, no power of putting ourselves deliberately before God. We have to learn how to be broken bread and poured out wine on the line of intercession more than on the line of personal contact. Imagination is the power God gives a saint to posit himself out of himself into relationships he never was in. Meditation becomes a lost art. We seldom use our imagination in our prayer and in our devotional reading. Imagination reaches deep into our soul or emotion. It drives tears to my eyes when I see Christ on the cross with my imagination; it is not that I created the cross in my mind. It was a fact that Jesus was nailed on the cross. But I never witnessed it with my physical vision. Imagination helped me reached beyond my physical limit to witness the love of God on that very cross in my imagination. Have mercy on me O Lord. I don’t deserve your sacrifice for me. Immediately, in my imagination I over heard Jesus’ words for Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Then, my heart is filled with thanksgiving for the sacrificial love of God for me. I hope you will experience it too.
Love you because of that love in me,
Monday, February 9, 2009
Good morning. It is wonderful to be able to sleep longer after a weekend ministry. Even though it was exhausting, the joy of fulfillment is overwhelming. Thank God for giving me and Loretta to witness His work in the retreat. He is active among His people and in His church. Many lives were touched because of His word. Praise the Lord! I recognized more and more that preaching is a spiritual battle. It seemed to be easy to ‘talk’ only for an hour or so in each session. But the process of preparation and delivery was like wrestling with Satan or an evil force within my self. It required a lot of prayer and meditation to focus on God; listen to what He may want to say to His people, and consider how within my limitations to deliver it. But God always provides strength to His children as we wait or depend on Him.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom" (Isaiah 40:28). Exhaustion means that the vital forces are worn right out. Spiritual exhaustion never comes through sin but only through service, and whether or not you are exhausted will depend upon where you get your supplies. Jesus said to Peter - "Feed My sheep," but He gave him nothing to feed them with. The process of being made broken bread and poured out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God. They must drain you to the remains. Be careful that you get your supply, or before long you will be utterly exhausted. Before other souls learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus direct, they have to draw on it through you; you have to be literally "sucked," until they learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be our best for His lambs and His sheep as well as for Himself.
Has the way in which you have been serving God betrayed you into exhaustion? If so, then rally your affections. Where did you start the service from? Did you start from your own sympathy or from the basis of the Redemption of Jesus Christ? Continually go back to the foundation of your affections and recollect where the source of power is. You have no right to say - "O Lord, I am so exhausted." He saved and sanctified you in order to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength; They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isa 40:29-31).
This passage comes so timely for me. I was really exhausted after Mexico and the retreat back to back. Praise God for finding strength and promise in Him. Indeed, our strength is from the Lord. When we focus in Him and rejoice in His glory and love, new spring of energy returns to me because the Joy of the Lord is my strength. When we abide in Him, Jesus promised, “my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Praise the Lord…Amen.
Love you in His joy,
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Good morning. The love of God remains unchanged even though the weather changes from time to time. We learn to rely on Him and drink from His love, so that we will be recharged and empowered to serve Him each day. There is no other way to make a difference in this world other than by those who abide in Him each day. Our love will easily burnt out. But His love sees no end. We need the Love of God to turn this world upside down. This morning, we prayed for our country and the political turmoil of the world. It reminds us of our Lord’s prophecy, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matt 24:4-8). The more we pray for this world, the more we are reminded of the second coming of Christ. We really need to commit ourselves to share the gospel to many who yet hear the gospel.
Paul said, "I am already being poured out like a drink offering" (2 Timothy 4:6a). "I am ready to be offered." It is a decision of will, not of sentiment. Tell God you are ready to be offered; then let the consequences be whatever they may be; there is no strand of complaint now, no matter what God chooses. God puts you through the crisis in private; no one person can help another. Externally the life may be the same; the difference is in will. Go through the crisis in will, then when it comes externally there will be no thought of the cost. If you do not transact in will with God along this line, you will end in awakening sympathy for yourself.
"Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." The altar means fire – burning, purification and separation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity or relationship that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God. You do not destroy it, God does; you bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar; and see that you do not give way to self-pity when the fire begins. After this experience of purification by fire, there is nothing that oppresses or depresses you. When the crisis arises, you realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What is your experience of fire?
Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be. We are called to be His own. And we can experience Him even more, when we commit ourselves to His altar. Let’s pray for one another on this.
Love you because we are His,
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Good morning. It is good to be home. Thank you for praying for my trip to Mexico City. I had a fruitful trip that was fully packed with activities. I did not know how tired I was until I woke up this morning – my body cried out for rest. It was wonderful to see God’s amazing work in the life of His church in Mexico City. Our mission is to plant the seed of Church in each unreached people group in the world. If we are able to do our job well in making disciples within each people group, they will in turn multiply and become an outreaching Body among their own kinsmen. This is like how Jesus described about the Kingdom of God, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade” (Mark 4:30-32). We are the Mustard Seed of His Kingdom in this world. Are we willing to give God the freedom to cast us to whichever community where they need the blessings of the gospel?
"Yea, even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you" (Philippians 2:17). Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful - to pour out your life-blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say - "I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.'
It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" - are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket - to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity. Are you willing to do so?
This is a good question for our introspection. We said we are willing to be slave of Christ. But when people really treat you as a slave, we react and protest. We want to be recognized. We want to be treated ‘fairly.’ But when people treat us as ‘nobody’ especially in church, we get upset. Have mercy on us O Lord! If we say we are the follower of Christ, help us to live with the heart of Christ, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt 11:29b). For the sake of the well being of other believers, are you willing to laid down your pride or honor, not with a long face but with the joy in Christ? It is indeed our distinct honor to suffer humiliation for the sake of Christ and His Body.
Love you with the Heart of Christ,
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Praise God for bringing me to Mexico to visit our missionary for a few days. I experienced how God changed the lives of many in this city. Pray that I will be able to find someone to help me edit the footages I took in this trip for a DVD presentation about the needs of Mexico City. I will be departing for airport to San Francisco tomorrow at 5:45 am. Please pray for my journey's mercy.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning from Mexico City. It is my forth day in Mexico. I have a very busy and fruitful schedule in this short mission – attending many bible study groups, preaching, teaching, and visiting different Christians in their homes and restaurants. Praise God for seeing His wonderful work not only among the Chinese community and among the Christian community in general. Indeed, there is a great need for the gospel in Mexico. Many Catholics here only worship Mary but not Christ. They are warm and good people; but they missed the salvation of Christ.
"Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16) Beware of stopping your ears to the call of God for full time gospel ministry. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his or her salvation; but that is not the call to preach as an evangelist, personal testimony is merely an illustration in preaching. Paul is referring to the pains produced in him by the constraint to preach the Gospel. Never apply what Paul says in this connection to souls coming in contact with God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved because it is God's sovereign work - Come unto Me and I will save you. Our Lord never lays down the conditions of discipleship as the conditions of salvation. We are destined to salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Discipleship has an option with it - "IF any man. . . "
Paul's words have to do with being made a servant of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be "separated unto the gospel" means to hear the call of God; and when a man begins to overhear that call, then begins agony that is worthy of the name. Every ambition is nipped in the bud, every desire of life quenched, every outlook completely extinguished and blotted out, saving one thing only - "separated unto the gospel." Woe is to the soul who tries to put his foot in any other direction when once that call has come to him. The church exists to equip you - to see whether God has a man or woman here who cares about proclaiming His Gospel; to see whether God grips you. And beware of competitors in your life and in this world when God does grip your heart to proclaim the gospel.
This is a joy to see the growth of this little Chinese church in Mexico City. God has done His marvellous work in saving these souls in the city, and bring them into this community of faith. These believers will never experience the salvation of God if none responded to the calling of God to bring the gospel to Mexico. As I heard testimony after testimony from the believers I interviewed, I praised God for His salvation work among our kinsmen. I also thanked God for the missionary who answered God’s call in Canada to start the first Chinese church in this city. ‘Jehovah witness’ has been active in the Chinese community long before Christian missionary came to town. Praise God for seeing the establishment of this little church in this big city. Pray that many will answer God’s call to full time ministry in this church, so that they will continue the work of our missionaries. Please pray for our missionaries and this church in Mexico.
Love you in Christ,