Thursday, 30 October 2008

Off to Australia Tomorrow

Arrived back in Singapore yesterday and will be off to Australia tomorrow. Please pray--we are meeting some new friends! Mike asks as always that we pray for power on the preaching!

We will be home in 5 days, Lord willing! Will write about the last few weeks!


Saturday, 18 October 2008

Too Many Lady Bugs!

Last Sunday, a ladybug landed on my hand. He was handsome to behold! The two big red spots on either side of its shiny black body—absolutely symmetrical! Its face, purposefully painted by the loving hand of God—one of His perfect masterpieces. Amazingly, this little guy is just like a million others that hatch out all over the world every year—perhaps even in your own backyard—except this one is in China.

On Thursday, we visited a deer farm and were assailed by orange ladybugs--all shapes and varieties--landing in our hair--filling the car--under our feet. They were everywhere--a potential plague! ;) Well, maybe not that bad!

But later, as I thought about the one and then the many, I realized the ladybugs were not a mere coincidence... there was a lesson to be learned!

12 October 2008

Today I was pulled to the cross and painfully forced to reflect on my own ingratitude. When was the last time you cried with pure joy and thanksgiving over the fact that Jesus died to save you and you don’t have to go to hell forever? I couldn’t remember the last time.

I have been asking the LORD to revive my cold heart! Sadly, my Christianity can tend to become very much a list of ‘to do’s’ daily ticked off and happily filed, every day moving on to the next list with a kind of zeal and determination. But then God rescues me from that and I get to go someplace like C or M or C –or any place where they haven’t forgotten that their Christianity was bought with a price. Where people live in the understanding that “you are not your own.” But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light… (1 Peter 2:9) There, in those precious moments, I am reminded that my Christianity was also bought with a price and I am brought to my knees in thanksgiving and praise.

Today when this happened, I thought about what a miracle it was that I ever got saved. I started to tell Mike about it (for the umpth-teen time!) He stopped me and said in his come back to reality Lisa tone—which I have come to know so well, “Lisa, don’t you realize it’s a miracle every time anybody gets saved?”

Hmmmm… a miracle.

According to Webster’s 1828 definition number 2 …

miracle: an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the known laws of nature; a supernatural event. Miracles can be wrought only by Almighty power, as when Christ healed lepers, saying, "I will, be thou clean," or calmed the tempest, "Peace, be still."

Yes, truly. And then I wondered when was it that we stopped believing in miracles? I mean, we know people get saved, we know Jesus was born of a virgin-God with us-and all of that, we know Moses parted the red sea and we know absent from the body, present with the LORD. All miracles. But really, when was it that it all stop being miraculous? When did we lose the wonder of it all?

Maybe it happened when we broke the DNA code and explained another one of God’s mysteries. Maybe it was the advent of blue screen F/X special effects—where it looks like anyone can pretty much do anything-defying gravity-dodging bullets! Maybe it happened gradually as we realized stuff like it was Dad who ate the cookies and drank the milk. Have we so mixed the real with the imaginary that we’ve lost the miraculous to the fakirs? When did we just start to take it all for granted? Then it came to me—too many ladybugs!

One lady bug on my hand-I’m facinated! But get a crowd of them and they become common and even irritating! Call the exterminator! They become common--and after awhile you don’t even notice them unless they crunch! It’s the same with the blessings of God’s salvation and provision--they are ever present, but often we don’t notice them either… unless we are crunched!

We have so much! The Bible on handheld, Google Earth, grapes all year round, cell phones for 3rd graders, free island-wide wireless in Singapore, i-phones! We don’t even notice that we are distracted by the ‘plenty.’ Thus, the timeless is blotted out from view by the flash of the temporal. And we lose our gratitude for what really matters…we take it all for granted. We are a forgetful people.

When we are not thankful, our foolish hearts are somehow darkened. We live like the unsaved, without praising Him as God with thanksgiving. (Rom 1:21) We forget. Our hearts grow cold. Our minds are distracted and deceived by what we see happening around us. That’s why the LORD has told us to always give thanks—to constantly praise! He has promised to inhabit our praise and we are refreshed! That’s a miracle! In this way we are renewed every morning . . .

No longer discouraged by the failing economy,
no longer enamoured the latest IT marvel,
no longer obsessed with the newest movie craze,
or the ever-present election coverage—
we are strong in the joy of our salvation—just like King David—
“…new every morning!”

Today we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Two elements set before us to represent Christ’s perfect sacrifice purposefully painted across history by the loving hand of God. We broke the bread in remembrance of his broken body on the cross. We drank the cup while reflecting upon His shed blood--all while being admonished to… “do this in remembrance of me.” It looked like millions of others that take place all over the world every year, perhaps in your own church—except this one was in Ch i na.

For many of the celebrants this was their first time! It seemed as if the room was filled with gratitude. Whispered thanksgiving mixed with tears was raised to heaven and it seemed the very presence of the LORD was in that place. He has promised and is faithful to inhabit the praises of his people—another miracle.

I too was drawn with the others to the cross where Christ suffered, bearing the sins of the world and taking the punishment for us all on his body. My joy was made brand new as I bowed in thanksgiving and praise.

Let's covenant to remember together... "new every morning!"

Friday, 17 October 2008

A Must Read: Go Home & Tell!

Last month I read the autobiography of Miss Bertha Smith-single missionary to China from 1917-1942! To say it was marvelous, is just not enough! I was so deeply encouraged by the life God gave her and by the power of the LORD poured out on the land during her time spent in China and Famosa/Taiwan. (Read a short biographical sketch below.)

Being back in China right now for the first time since reading it, I am so moved by what needs to be done for the cause here at this time, which is our time! Please remember the work, the lost, and workers here to the most high--and get hold of the the book:

Go Home & Tell
By Betha Smith

Miss Smith was born on Nov. 16, 1888, on a farm outside Cowpens, South Carolina. She was one of five children of John and Frances Smith.

A disciplined, precocious child, she had a dynamic conversion experience and came to Jesus Christ during a Baptist revival meeting in 1905.

While in college in 1910, Bertha realized that God wanted her to become a missionary. Then in 1917, she received her formal appointment to China from the Foreign Mission Board.

After a year of language study in Peking (now Beijing), "Miss Bertha," as she was affectionately called, went to her first assignment in Laichowfu, in Shantung province. She developed a burden for the Chinese Christians to whom she ministered and the millions of Chinese people who had not yet come to faith in Christ.

Apathy pervaded the churches in Shantung, but a time of political upheaval caused the missionaries there to retreat to the seaport city of Chefoo, where an unforgettable event took place.

During a prayer meeting there were dramatic healings (Mrs. Culpepper), reconciliations and salvations. The group was made aware of their half-hearted commitment toward the people they had been sent to help.

The revived missionaries returned to their respective stations as different people with a different message. Now they were ready to minister in power. And they did.

The great Shantung Revival began in 1927 and continued until the Japanese invasion in 1936. The awakening deepened and spread to other areas.

There was deep conviction among Chinese Christian leaders and missionaries alike. Physical healings were verified, and thousands found Christ.

Bertha had a fruitful ministry in China until she returned to America in 1942. Seven years later she made her way to the Island of Formosa (Taiwan) where she continued to faithfully serve and be used wonderfully!

At age 70 Bertha retired to America and wrote a best-selling book that told the story of the great Chinese revival. For nearly 30 years, she traveled across the world sharing one message: God revives His people. She was called home to her reward on June 12, 1988, just five months before her 100th birthday.
(Taken from Women of Great Awakenings)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

I Certainly Got This Wrong!

You know, I never liked singing that song, I Saw Jesus In You for Sundays. ;) Every time it was chosen I would cringe and wonder why on earth we were singing that again! Being a song from a cute Christmas musical, all I could think of were the circumstances of the story and couldn’t appreciate it any time it was sung during the worship time. Clearly biased!

A few Sundays ago, it came up again. I found myself standing on the stage in our 700 seat auditorium--inwardly rolling my eyes--singing with the orchestra and choir along with the congregation

When I enter heaven’s glory
And I see my Saviour’s face
I will offer Him 10,000 years of praise

Ok so far…

Then I’ll find that special one

Oh no, here comes the story part…

In whose love I saw God’s Son
Then through tears of joy and trembling lips
You’ll hear me say: I saw Jesus in you…

But with that line, it seemed my eyes were opened as we sang…

I saw Jesus in you
I could hear His voice in the words you said
I saw Jesus in you

And suddenly I realized as my eyes scanned the congregation, gazing into the faces I love so dearly, that I was actually seeing Jesus…

I saw the face of Christ’s confidence & peace, on a brother singing with peace in his heart, resting on this week’s news that the cancer has probably come back.

Behind him was a lady, singing beside her husband—newly saved because of her “chaste, submissive behaviour”--a very long haul. There I saw the face of Christ’s longsuffering.

I saw the face of Christ’s empowering grace on a young girl who suffers every day with horrible pain, her countenance glowing with pure beauty and joy.

Just a little farther back on the left a couple stood who gave up all that they had known and loved to be constantly misunderstood strangers serving their LORD, pouring themselves out as an offering in a foreign land, there I saw the face of Christ’s sacrificial love.

Way in the back a young father struggled with his playful toddler, I remembered the day that boy was born too many months premature-a mere handful of life- and how the couple remained confident that no matter what happened, they would trust the LORD. And there I saw Christ's pure mercy and grace bestowed on that little life.

On the right about in the middle stood a couple hand in hand—the two of them wonderfully restored after a tragic failure. There I saw the face of Christ’s complete forgiveness.

Down in front a special face was shining with praise, in him I saw the face of Christ’s true humility—a selfless servant--knowing he early rose to clean and prepare much for the long day’s ministry that no one but the LORD will know about.

Beside me I knew stood a couple who patiently, confidently trust the LORD, knowing the sorrow that they bear for a tormented child, resting in the fact that God is in control and will, in his mercy work in his heart! There I saw the face of Christ’s sacrifice and longsuffering.

And on and on I looked all around the auditorium…

I could hear His voice in the words you said
I saw Jesus in you
In your eyes I saw His care; I could see His love was there
You were faithful, and I saw Jesus in you.

I felt surrounded! And I knew then I‘d never think of that song the same way again. And I praised the LORD for opening my eyes to see Him so clearly…hoping that someone too could see Jesus in me.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Off To China Tomorrow

We are leaving for China tomorrow morning! Please remember us... we will be gone 3 weeks ... traveling in several cities with a wonderfully heavy schedule! How exciting!

Will write when we can.

Psalm 81:10