Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hong Kong family vacation

It was great to have family reunion and to visit with cousins and relatives in HK.

My children visited our family factory in China, and participated in a wall breaking ceremony in celebrating the expansion of the factory to adjacent plant (My brother brought the factory next door).

Thank God for the opportunity of spending a vacation with my family in Hong Kong. It was certainly a great experience for my children and son-in-law to visit relatives and friends back home. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Devotional 171109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I was running back and forth of airport for our incoming coworkers from overseas. Our International staff meeting will start tomorrow. Staffs from our area offices and mission fields are heading back for a week of fellowship time. It is exciting to see all these coworkers from all over the world getting together for some strategic planning session together. It is a very significant event.

"By Myself have I sworn, said the Lord, for because you have done this thing . . . that in blessing I will bless you. . . ." (Genesis 22:15-19). Abraham has reached the place where he is in touch with the very nature of God, he understands now the Reality of God.

"My goal is God Himself . . .At any cost, dear Lord, by any road." "At any cost, by any road" means nothing self-chosen in the way God brings us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says - "Come," I simply come; when He says - "Let go," I let go; when He says - "Trust in God in this matter," I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God's revelation of Himself to me is determined by my character, not by God's character. "'This is because I am mean, Your ways so often look mean to me." By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that "in all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee." The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us, then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. "All the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen." The "yes" must be born of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say "Amen" to a promise, then that promise is ours.

This is the spiritual discipline that we all need to go through, either willingly or unwillingly. There will be times in our lives that God will shape and mold us in according to His nature. God wants us to learn obedience, which is the lesson for abundant living. We thought we know better how to lead an abundant life. Our understanding of abundant life is nothing but materialistic wealth or well being. But God’s abundant life is a joyful living from inside out. As our will totally surrender to His plan, we live out the purpose that He created us for; we will then find fulfillment in life. It is not a easy lesson. It will certainly take a life time for us to learn and experience His greatness.

Please remember us in your prayers as we will host our International Staff and Board meeting this whole week. Pray that God will reveal Himself to us as we talk about some strategic issues of our development. Most likely you will not hear from me since I will be fully occupied. Immediately after the meeting, I will fly to Hong Kong with my family for a week of vacation. On my way back, I will transfer to New York for a week of mission conference until 12/7. Check my blog if you want to find out how my trip goes in the next coming few weeks, even though I may not be able to write you my devotional. If you want to keep reading the book “my utmost for His highest,” you may go directly to their website:

May God bless you with a closer walk with Him daily!

Love you in Christ,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Devotional 161109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good afternoon. Our office had power outage this morning. As a result, we took advantage of time to clean up the office from inside out. If you have followed my blog, you know that a group of brothers and sisters had already helped me clean up on Saturday. But there are still a lot of touch-up works to do afterward. Since we can’t do anything without electric power, we just took advantage of the time to do some labor of love. It was a good exercise; I hope I did not hurt my back because it feels uncomfortable now.

"Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). The great marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary childhood's life; the great marvel of the Transfiguration vanishes in the devil-possessed valley; the glory of the Resurrection descends into a breakfast on the sea-shore. This is not an anti-climax, but a great revelation of God.

The tendency is to look for the marvelous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want mediaeval haloes, we want something that will make people say - What a wonderful man of prayer he is! What a pious devoted woman she is! If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you; all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time.

Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God! It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God's Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is. We will set up success in Christian work as the aim; the aim is to manifest the glory of God in human life, to live the life hid with Christ in God in human conditions. Our human relationships are the actual conditions in which the ideal life of God is to be exhibited.

In our fellowship time with one another, we let the glory of God shine through this humble vessel of ours. If we claim to have any spiritual quality or devotion to God, we will be tested in our relationship with the saints. It is within the perfect plan of God that our spirituality inter-connected with those who are part of the family of God. That’s why Paul prayed that “you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:116b-18). Do not underestimate the power of fellowship, no matter how good or bad the program may be. Commit not just to enjoy the program but to exercise your gifts and love from Christ for one another.

Love you in Christ,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Preached on Sunday worship

This is God's divine plan that I served as pulpit supply for this church at both their English and Mandarin congregation. Pray that God will revive this church for His glory.

Cleaning day

Thanks to a group of brothers and sisters who volunteered their time to clean the outer walls of Gospel Operation International. It was a day of hard work. Praise God for their service to His Kingdom.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Devotional 131109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is such a cool and gorgeous day! Praise the Lord. Pray that the Lord will empower you in your service to Him today. How blessed we are to be His children and be able to enjoy His daily presence in life! Let’s be faithful to one another because our Father is faithful to us in all His promises.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). We have to battle through our moods into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus, to get out of the hole-and-corner business of our experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think Who the New Testament says that Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meanness of the miserable faith we have - I haven't had this and that experience! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims - that He can present us faultless before the throne of God, unutterably pure, absolutely rectified and profoundly justified. Stand in implicit adoring faith in Him, He is made unto us "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." How can we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! Our salvation is from hell and eternal condemnation, and then we talk about making sacrifices for Christ!?

We have to get out into faith in Jesus Christ continually; not a prayer meeting Jesus Christ, nor a book Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, Who is God Incarnate, and Who ought to strike us to His feet as dead. Our faith must be in the One from Whom our experience springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute abandon of devotion to Himself. We never can experience Jesus Christ, nor ever hold Him within the compass of our own hearts, but our faith must be built in strong emphatic confidence in Him.

It is along this line that we see the rugged impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All our fears are wicked, and we fear because we will not nourish ourselves in our faith. How can any one who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! It ought to be an absolute certainty of perfectly irrepressible, triumphant belief.

I don’t know how to respond to Brother Chambers’ powerful message. I was totally humbled by this reminder. How often we have doubt about our faith in Christ, or our walk with Him? How often we calculate our sacrifice or offering to God as though we have already done a lot! Many believers offer to God less than they gave tips to waiter or on dog food per month. They would take God for granted and His servants for granted as well. They would seek help from pastor or church, but they will never consider to pay for their service, as though ministers entitled to serve and they entitled to be served. If this is the attitude believers have toward God’s servants, what kind of attitude they have toward these servants’ Master? I heard of missionary’s story how believers from poor neighborhood would give their prime possessions like chicken, eggs and vegetables to the missionary in appreciation of the gospel he brought to them. Their giving signified their appreciation of the good gift they received from God. As Paul said, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil 4:11), I don’t think any ministers or missionaries are expecting anything in return because they consider their service to God as nothing in comparing to what Christ has accomplished on the cross for them. I am saying this to encourage you not to take God’s gift for granted or takes anyone who is caring for your well being for granted. During this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you will take action to appreciate your pastors or ministers who have been serving you faithfully in church without expecting anything in return. Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work (1 Thess 5:12). Your gratitude toward His servants expresses your gratitude toward the Lover of your soul. As Jesus said in his parable, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40), appreciate those who labor for you in church today.

Love you as fellow brother in Christ,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Devotional 121109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was great to enjoy a day of Sabbath with Loretta. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated for another great day of service again. Time really flies. Thanksgiving Day is only two weeks away. During this season of thanksgiving, let’s spend time to count the blessings we have in Christ; the blessings of new babies, new couples, new believers, new ministry, new jobs and renewed marriage etc. We rejoice for all the great relationship we have in church, at work, at home and in our community. Treasure what you have and enjoy with the heart full of thanksgiving. Amen?

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). What idea have you of the salvation of your soul? The experience of salvation means that in your actual life things are really altered, you no longer look at things as you used to; your desires are new, old things have lost their power. One of the touchstones of experience is - Has God altered the thing that matters? If you still crave after the old things, it is absurd to talk about being born from above, you are juggling with yourself. If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the alteration manifest in your actual life and reasoning, and when the crisis come you are the most amazed person on earth at the wonderful difference there is in you. There is no possibility of imagining that you did it. It is this complete and amazing alteration that is the evidence that you are a saved soul.

What difference has my salvation and sanctification made? For instance, can I stand in the light of 1 Corinthians 13, or do I have to shuffle? The salvation that is worked out in me by the Holy Spirit liberates me entirely, and as long as I walk in the light as God is in the light, He sees nothing to censure because His life is working out in every particular, not to my consciousness, but deeper than my consciousness.

The born again experience begins with the mind. This new being in Christ cares for things above, sees things from Christ’s eyes, hears things from the Holy Spirit, and deals with things through the love of God the Father. It takes daily practice of surrendering our will to God, just as Paul said, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). The more we take captive of our old way of thinking and make it obedient to Christ, the more our new being become truly Christ like, because we no longer desire and think like our old self.

Surrendering our old self is not an easy thing to do. It goes against our nature; our nature will grumble and complain. We question ourselves from time to time whether this is too extreme. We have no certainty whether we are going toward a right direction. But when we press on just as Paul did to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us, then our old being will be liberated and transformed into this new being in Christ. May the Lord empower each one of us to enter into this abundantly new life that Christ has prepared for us to enjoy!

Love you in His mindset,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Devotional 111109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Since Loretta must take a no-pay-leave today, I took a comp day to recuperate at home with her. It does make a difference to sleep a little bit longer, after several weeks of intense pressures of sermon preparation and ministry. It is not easy for a workaholic to rest. But I am sure God is wise to establish “Sabbath” for man; it is for our own good to be able to rest completely from stress after 6 days of labor each week.

"Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about" (Genesis 22:2). God's command is - Take now, not presently. It is extraordinary how we debate! We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once. To climb to the height God shows can never be done presently, it must be done now. The sacrifice is gone through in will before it is performed actually.

"And Abraham rose up early in the morning and went unto the place of which God had told him" (v. 3). The wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not confer with flesh and blood. Beware when you want to confer with flesh and blood, i.e., your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship to God. These are the things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.

Abraham did not choose the sacrifice. Always guard against self-chosen service for God; self-sacrifice may be a disease. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it, but never choose the scene of your martyrdom. God chose the trial for Abraham, and Abraham made no protest; he went steadily through. If you are not living in touch with Him, it is easy to pass a crude verdict on God. You must go through difficult trial before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because in difficult trial you learn to know God better. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man's purpose become one.

This is a difficult trial that we properly would all attempt to escape. Abraham did not know ahead of time what God would have asked him to sacrifice. He had walked with God for a long period of time. He knew the blessing of God. God bailed him out from his mistakes and saved him from different kinds of crisis in life. Abraham knew God was good, but he did not expect God was so cruel and difficult too. Surprisingly Abraham did not complain. He just followed God’s demand and took his beloved son to Mt. Moriah. I am sure his mind must have gone through big battle, “why did God want me to kill my son? If he wants me to kill my son now, why did He give Isaac to me in the first place? Would it be better if I never had Isaac, than to kill him with my own hand? Human sacrifice was not uncommon at that time; many pagans’ worships did sacrifice young children to please their gods. Abraham properly thought it was the common pleasure of deity – they have appetite for children’s blood and youthful flesh. He was ready to give whatever that will please God the most. Total abandonment of ourselves and self interests to God is what pleases Him the most. May God enjoy your sacrifice to Him today!

Love you in His wonderful pleasure,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Devotional 101109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I did not realize I was so exhausted until late evening yesterday. I guessed my adrenal thrust finally slowed down from being on high gear for a couple of days. It was so hard for me to get up this morning. My body just craved for rest…. Praise God for witnessing Him at work in the retreat. I feel that this people group is ready to take on the baton from us, in planting indigenous churches for their kinsmen in China. When I shared about my experience with Iu Mienh people in China, many were willing to go with me to Jin Ping. Praise the Lord! However, it still takes a few years of transition because they don’t speak Mandarin but English. Hopefully, they will commit to go with us for couple of years before they completely take over the mission.

"We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith" (1 Thessalonians 3:2). After sanctification it is difficult to state what your aim in life is, because God has taken you up into His purpose by the Holy Spirit; He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself - God has called me for this and that; you are putting a barrier to God's use of you. As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God's interests. You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never understand your ways.

I have to learn that the aim in life is God's, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say - Lord, this gives me such heart-ache. To talk in that way makes me a block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what He wants without any hindrance. He can crumple me up or exalt me; He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have implicit faith in Himself and in His goodness. Self pity is of the devil, if I go off on that line I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. I have "a world within the world" in which I live, and God will never be able to get me outside it because I am afraid of being frost-bitten.

Yielding, submitting or surrendering to God is the goal of our Christian living. We learn to give God full freedom to do whatever He wants in and through our lives. Yes. We may have our own agenda. We may want to accomplish some great and enjoyable things in life…only to find out later that they are insignificant and empty. There is nothing as meaningful and satisfactory than to do His will or to become instrument in His hands. It is a distinct privilege to become His channel of blessings. I was humbled to see how the Lord had used me in the Mienh’s retreat. When leaders shared how much they were blessed by the messages, I was astonished to hear that God had used me in such a way for His own glory. I lean to let Him freely do His work in and through me. As a result, I experience the fruit of my salvation in Him. I am sure you can taste the same blessing when you seek to give Him the freedom to do His will.

Love you in His will,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Devotional 091109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thanks for your prayer for me and Loretta. We finished our mission in serving the Iu Mienh people in their annual marriage retreat. If you visit my blog, you will see some of the pictures we took at the retreat. May God continue to do His work in and through this community, so that they will in turn become blessing to their families and their communities, where they are from! Praise the Lord.

"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. . . ." (Colossians 1:24). The Christian worker has to be a sacramental "go-between," to be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him. It is not the strength of one man's personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through the elements of the worker's life. When we preach the historic facts of the life and death of Our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacramental, God uses them on the ground of His Redemption to create in those who listen that which is not created otherwise. If we preach the effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in another domain. We have to see that we are in such living sympathy with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in souls the things which He alone can do.

What a wonderful personality! What a fascinating man! Such marvelous insight! What chance has the Gospel of God through all that? It cannot get through, because the line of attraction is always the line of appeal. If a man attracts by his personality, his appeal is along that line; if he is identified with his Lord's personality, then the appeal is along the line of what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.

Thank God for using this devotional to remind myself as a preacher of the gospel. Am I attracting people to me or attracting people to Christ. May God constantly remind me to stay focus on Him as I serve! My purpose is not to appeal to the audience but to preach Christ and His life. It is His life that impacts and transforms men not mine. Amen.

I am checking out from my hotel today. Will write you more tomorrow.

Love you because of the cross,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Iu Mienh Marriage Retreat

This is how much we are being appreciated! They are generous givers...

Three dessert plates per couples besides...

Each couple shared three entree' (big piece of steak, salmon, and a whole chicken) plus salad, bread and more... the Mienhs really can eat!

The candle night dinner was well planned and enjoyable. It gave brothers and sisters a chance to dress up for the event every year. Priase the Lord!

They gave us a royal treatment. We have the best room in the hotel.

Thank God for a successful Mienh Marriage Retreat.
They came from Chico, Sacramento, Merced, Oakland and San Jose.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Devotional 061109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather makes me sleepy. Physically, I am very tired trying to meet the demands of both work and study. But I am excited to be fully engaged in learning. Pray that God will give me new strength each day in serving Him and grow in Him.

"Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:26) Martha believed in the power at the disposal of Jesus Christ, she believed that if He had been present He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do; but she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha's program of belief had its fulfillment in the future; Jesus led her on until her belief became a personal possession, and then slowly emerged into a particular inheritance - "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ. . . "

Is there something like that in the Lord's dealings with you? Is Jesus educating you into a personal intimacy with Himself? Let Him press home His question to you - "Do you believe this?" What is your ordeal of doubt? Have you come, like Martha, to some overwhelming passage in your circumstances where your program of belief is about to emerge into a personal belief? This can never be until a personal need arises out of a personal problem.

To believe is to commit. In the program of mental belief I commit myself, and abandon all that is not related to that commitment. In personal belief I commit myself morally to this way of confidence and refuse to compromise with any other; and in particular belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ, and determine in that thing to be dominated by the Lord alone.

When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me - "Do you believe this?" I find that faith is as natural as breathing, and I am staggered that I was so stupid as not to trust Him before.

Indeed, our faith in Christ usually remains on a cognitive level. Until one day when our faith is put on testing by some circumstances, we will not commit ourselves totally to His hands. When everything is so smooth and complacent, our faith in God is just to believe in His presence. We believe He exists. We believe Jesus is God. We believe God will help those who help themselves. We believe that following Christ will earn blessings from above. It is good to believe in Christ because He was a good man. If our faith is like what I have just described, we are at a primitive stage of faith. This faith has not be shaken or tested by real life challenges. We need to draw closer to God in order to withstand different challenges or temptations in life. Your intimacy with God is the only way to shelter you from all kinds of hidden attacks from Satan. That’s why Paul said, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand….take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:13, 16). The way to put on a full armor of God is to equip yourself with the Word of God on a daily basis. Satan will not wait until you are fully equipped before he attacks. Satan will not notify you ahead of time when he will launch his attack. It will be totally unexpected just like the gun man who suddenly stood up in a crowded medical facility at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire toward the unarmed soldiers. Walk intimately with Christ because you never know when your life will come to an end, or when Satan will launch his attack against you.

Please pray for my weekend ministry at a Yao Meinh’s Couple retreat. Yao Mienh is a people group from Southeast Asia. Many of them came to America as refugees after the Vietnam War. Some of them came to know Christ and had planted a church at East Bay. Pray that they will understand my message and workshop, which will all be conducted in English (I wished I could speak Mienh). Thanks. Will send you my devotional on Tuesday if not sooner. Do check out my block for latest pictures that I will take from the retreat. Wish you have a blessed weekend too!

Love you in Christ,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Devotional 051109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. May our Lord grant you new strength to face the challenge of this new day! It is exciting to see how life unfolds each day, regardless of how boring or stressful it may be. If you walk with Christ, you know each day is a new lesson about His grace.

"Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings" (1 Peter 4:13). If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Oh, I can't deal with that person. Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you argued off because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.

The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered "according to the will of God," not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God's aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to acquire the carrying out of God's order by a short cut of their own. God's way is always the way of suffering, the way of the "long, long trail."

Are we partakers of Christ's sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way that would make us spiritual brags. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through suffering more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a realization stage, and say - ' 'Why, God has equipped me, though I did not know it!"

I believe that bearing our cross to follow Christ was God’s way to prepare us to face different challenges of life. Our Lord’s teaching for us is to intentionally train our souls to encounter suffering without fear. It may appear to be ridiculous when our Lord said, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt 5:39-42). To Christ, the first strike or draft was involuntary but the second one was voluntary; it requires exercising your free will to accept pain or suffering for a divine purpose: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:44-45). In the same token, Jesus challenged his followers, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). Being the follower of Christ is to imitate Christ. And to imitate Christ is to identify with his death and suffering for mankind. As we do, we can truly echo Paul’s claim, “I can do everything (or encounter every situation) through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).

Our Lord purposefully wants to equip His disciples to become special task forces like Navy Seals to accomplish His salvation plan on earth. Navy Seals are the Special Operations Forces of the United States Navy, employed in direct action and special reconnaissance operations. SEALs are also capable of undertaking unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, and other missions. They had to endure a lot of suffering and went through very difficult training in order to earn their title. We don’t need to earn our title as the children of God. We received it through the suffering of Christ. But God wants those who received this free gift imitate the life of His Son. Continue to train us, O Lord, to be more Christ like each day.

Love you as Christ loves me,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Devotional 041109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Hope you rise and shine for the Lord today. Being alive means being the witness of God’s abundant grace and mercy upon us each day. I look forward to many challenges that may come my way each day. There are endless readings and preparation for either my work or study. Deadlines after deadlines just put my life on the edge from time to time. I rejoice for all these challenges that I can utilize my time and potential to handle and grow. It makes me feel vibrant and young all the time.

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). It is essential to give people a chance of acting on the truth of God. The responsibility must be left with the individual, you cannot act for him, it must be his own deliberate act, but the evangelical message ought always to lead a man to act. The paralysis of refusing to act leaves a man exactly where he was before; when once he acts, he is never the same. It is the foolishness of it that stands in the way of hundreds who have been convicted by the Spirit of God. Immediately I hurried myself over into an act, that second I live; all the rest is existence. The moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my whole will.

Never allow a truth of God that is brought home to your soul to pass without acting on it, not necessarily physically, but in will. Record it, with ink or with blood. The weakest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is liberated the second he acts; all the almighty power of God is on his behalf. We come up to the truth of God, we confess we are wrong, but go back again; then we come up to it again, and go back; until we learn that we have no business to go back. We have to go clean over on some word of our redeeming Lord and transact business with Him. His word "come" means "transact." "Come unto Me." The last thing we do is to come; but everyone who does come knows that that second the supernatural rush of the life of God invades him instantly. The dominating power of the world, the flesh and the devil is paralyzed, not by your act, but because your act has linked you on to God and His redemptive power.

Procrastination is a common problem for many Christians who live in a complacent environment like America. There are too many options or alternatives that we have to consider before we act. We would always wait to see or consider if there are more options for us to choose from; sometimes there are just too many choices before us that we don’t know what to choose. A lot of time, Christians wait until the last minute before they choose to attend a certain function in church. Not that they are too busy. They just don’t want to commit too soon that tie them down by their commitment. So they would rather wait and see until the last minute.

In a post-modern culture that we are in today, we will not submit to “absolute authority” of God easily. When there is no absolute, there is no “highest” priority in life. There may be three to five equally “important” priorities in a Christian’s life; God, spouse, family, work, entertainments, friends and so forth. When all these priorities are equally important in a Christian, he or she will surely have problem to choose. If there is no clear sense of priority in life, a person will have difficulty to say no to many options that knock on his or her door fromt time to time. Unless you can passionately say YES to God as the “highest priority” in life, you cannot say NO to all the good things that will detour you from the main purpose of life.

We have been reading this devotional classic: My utmost for His highest, which signify the author’s commitment in putting God as the highest priority in life. I hope that the sharing of this devotional will help you refocus your priority in life, so that your life will be more energetic, passionate and fulfilled. Indeed, when you put God first in life, you enter into His glory and abundance, just as Christ promises to offer. Have a very blessed day to enjoy your service in Him.

Love you for His glory and abundance,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Devotional 031109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is so beautiful today that I should take a day off to enjoy this special warm weather in autumn. Thank God that I have a great view of the city of San Francisco from my office. It is so refreshing to just watch the Nature for a few minutes, and to meditate on the greatness of God and His beautiful work around us. Praise the Lord!

"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20). These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ - "For My sake." It is that which makes the iron saint.

Has that break come? All the rest is pious fraud. The one point to decide is - Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? I must be broken from my self-realization, and immediately that point is reached, the reality of the supernatural identification takes place at once, and the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable - "I have been crucified with Christ."

The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.

One student a year who hears God's call would be sufficient for God to have called a Chrsitian College into existence. A College as an organization is not worth anything, it is not academic; it is for nothing else but for God to help Himself to lives. Is He going to help Himself to us, or are we taken up with our conception of what we are going to be?

It is not easy to surrender totally to Christ. We got too used to be our own boss. We do what we desire. We choose our own way at our own speed. We are conditioned to win and to be competitive. We want to go ahead of others rather than to yield to others. The more we try to show off the more we remove ourselves from the cross of Christ. If I want to earn the adoration of man, my life is not yet broken. Have mercy on me. O Lord!

I came across this passage at our staff prayer meeting. It is Paul’s testimony to the Thessalonians, “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else” (1 Thess 2:5-6). The reason why Paul said this word to the church at Thessalonica was because some Jewish believers did not stand up for Christ within their own community. They were afraid of rejection within their Jewish community, which could mean losing support, business connections and financial crisis. This is their test of faithfulness. Most of us will pass the test of faith – believing in Christ Jesus as personal Lore and Savior. But many of us may not pass the test of faithfulness – to remain steadfast in Christ despite persecution or rejection from our own peers. I recognize that this is beyond man’s will power to do so. It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit within us to make it happen, provided that we walk close with Him each day. May God grant you the strength to shine for Him at wherever you are!

Love you in Christ,