“They are our bread”

The day after I shared my testimony in Kehl about going back to the training in faith, I received an email from Dr CR saying I was approved to return to the program. That was 3 full weeks after my email to Dr AS.

Yesterday, I compared this year’s track roster with last year’s and found that, if the program last year was at-capacity with 188, it’s at 192 this year.

Taking a step back, I thought about this very little throughout 3rd term. I told the Lord, “Why should I worry when there’s nothing I can do? It’s in Your hands. If there’s a seat for me come January, I praise You; if not, You know how much grace will be sufficient for me and my family.”

But I’m by no means immune to anxiety, and it started creeping up more and more toward the end of the term. When I got home for the interim, the big question was when and how to write this email.

After I sent the first email to Dr R on January 2nd, it was hard not to check my email every minute. She took her time getting back to me — a whole week. She would add me to the class listserv to participate in the lottery, and I was to write to Dr S and Dr M regarding registration. I was rather nervous about the latter, but the former held some promise.

A week later, no response. Just as I debated whether to follow up, I got a listserv email regarding extending the track selection deadline. …Wait, track selection had been open this whole time? After looking through last year’s emails, I finally realised that it was to One45 that I had to go, not SSC nor Entrada. Ta-da — there it was, and I had nearly missed it.

Interestingly, Dr R had originally told me to contact her in March — long after the lottery deadline of January 22nd.

In the conundrum of whether to follow up, I had many arguments for and against… But in the end, the Lord’s word was “wait”. So I did. The day before leaving for Europe, I emailed Dr R saying I would follow up with Dr S and Dr M in February.

Upon arrival in Europe, I awaited the lottery results with some trepidation, checking One45 nonstop after getting to the Ilford hotel. A word from my recent reading convicted me:

To spy out a situation…weakens our faith. We should simply believe in God without knowing anything.

Message 20, Life-Study of Numbers

Indeed, every time I checked my email and One45, my faith weakened. Eventually I just had to tell the Lord, “I’m sorry for spying out the land in this way. I just stop.”

The next morning, I spent some very sweet time with the Lord at the memorial park by the hotel. When I checked my email and One45 afterward, the lottery results were waiting for me. Indeed, I had been assigned my first choice.

It was another 5 days before Dr R’s email came, but I was way too busy with the gospel trip to even think about this…


That was a rather long-winded way of saying that God is faithful. It was a term in faith, and it did propel me to depend on the Lord as never before — in a quieter and more restful way than ever before. The challenges that were giants in my eyes became my bread.

These outline points from Message 11 of the Crystallization-Study of Numbers were my experience:

Joshua & Caleb took the word of God as their faith.

II. E

Joshua & Caleb honored God, and God, in turn, honored them.

II. E. 2

Joshua & Caleb were not the ones who overcame in Numbers 13 & 14; it was the One in whom they trusted. God did everything; they simply enjoyed what God did.

II. E. 4. a-b

Caleb’s experience demonstrates that the more Nephilim we eat, the stronger we will become

III. D. 2

And there certainly are more Nephilim to be eaten. I’m more burdened than ever for Europe and especially the French-speaking world, but when and how will I ever be able to move there? And more urgently, I’m soon to go from the training environment to the frenzy of rotations; how will I ever maintain my enjoyment of the Lord?

Caleb fully followed the Lord because he knew that God wanted the children of Israel to enter into the good land. Since God wanted them to enter the good land, He would fight for them and accomplish everything for them.

III. C. 1-2

Hallelujah, I know what God wants, and I know that He will do what He wants!

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No high there is, nor lowly

Hymn 824 is on the definition of the church, and stanza 5 speaks of the new man:

From every tribe and nation
Do all the members come;
Regardless of their classes,
United to be one.
No high there is, nor lowly;
No Jew, nor Gentile clan;
No slave, nor slave, nor master;
But Christ the “one new man”.

I’ve been considering the 5th line recently because of our buy-then-sell situation. I’ve certainly had some notions of the investment value of real estate, but the power of “property” hit me hard this time. In this day and age when everyone owns an iPhone, it’s property ownership that divides the “haves” and the “have nots”. And the divide is deep because it seems to never get easier to buy but always get easier to sell.


So that was a draft from May 2018. Yes, it’s been nearly a year since I last attempted to write. And no, our place never did get sold.

I believe the sentiment I wanted to express with this post was that I find myself easily 心里不平衡 when I compare my (currently my family’s) assets with others’ — especially other saints’. This troubled me quite a bit: how am I supposed to enter into the reality of the one new man when I’m ever conscious of “high” and “lowly”? At the time, P’s complaints of the Fraser Valley’s distance from what she considered civilization were “balanced” by my effectively having a substantial property to my name. But balanced or not, it’s all in my commercial mind (see my post on this).

In the October 23rd FMC class, brother RK spoke an encouraging word in response to DC’s sharing regarding mammon. He began with this:

“Why don’t you ask the Lord to show you what you think about?” When I did this, immediately the word “money” came.

ended with this:

I just long for all of you, for your whole life, to be freed from the grip of mammon… [The] Lord can gain an increasing number of brothers and sisters your age who…can tell the Lord directly, “I serve You. I do not serve mammon.”

and said in faith, in between:

I assure you, the Lord is going to thoroughly release you from this and keep you faithful in [the 2 principles of giving and living within your means] until you’re raptured to the throne!

So it’s not a matter of having or not having; it’s the love of money and the aspiring after it (1 Tim. 6:10).

Well, I lay hold on my brother’s promise, which I believe is from the Lord:

[If] we present ourselves to the Lord and ask Him to deal thoroughly with the love of money, with the hold that money has, with anxiety concerning money, with improper use of money… He will do it.


I found the absolute gem of brother DV’s testimony in Joseph’s Storehouse in January and gleaned this:

D.L. Moody had someone tell him, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him”, and Moody told God, “I want to be that man.”

Brother AY once defined a job-keeping full-timer as “one who makes as much money as he can, spends as little as he can, and gives the rest to the Lord”. Then he said that he had yet to see such a brother/sister in the Recovery. Well, I went home and told the Lord, “By Your mercy and Your grace, I want to be that person.

Lord, I aspire to the same.

Belated amens & retroactive hallelujahs

Dug up this phrase from message 2 of the 2016 Summer Training. I was considering sister R’s story of how her husband was out of the church life for 11 years. She said something that I’ll never forget, along the lines of “If I had known he would eventually be recovered, those 11 years wouldn’t have been so full of suffering”.

That’s the problem, isn’t it? We don’t know. We don’t even know tomorrow, let alone 11 years into the future. So we struggle. We’re bewildered. We ask “Why, Lord?”

I like Jeremiah 48:11 because it explains —

Moab has been at ease from his youth;
And he is settled on his lees
And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel;
Nor has he gone into exile.
Therefore his taste remains in him,
And his scent is not changed.

It’s a sad thing to be settled on our lees, to have our scent unchanged. It’s a mercy when the Lord doesn’t leave us “at ease”. His emptying-from-vessel-to-vessel hand is His transforming and conforming hand. When I pray for my taste to be changed to the flavour of Christ, my scent to be changed to the fragrance of Christ, the Lord is faithful to answer that prayer. He empties from one situation to another situation, from one person to another person, from one matter to another matter. It seems like “things come up” non-stop — that’s because there’s yet another vessel to be emptied into, yet more self to go out and more Christ to come in.

It’s never easy in the situation. A situation like not having our listing sold after nearly 3 months and 2 price drops. But, after the fact, it’s all so clear: “Wow, the Lord really knew what He was doing.” And so come the belated amens and retroactive hallelujahs.

The funny thing is, we forget so quickly. After having witnessed the Lord’s marvellous hand time and time again, I still am of so little faith. Oh Lord! I don’t want Your lessons to go unlearned. How I need You to make known to me not only Your acts but also Your ways (Psalm 103:7), so that I would worship You and Your ways — not just after the fact but before I see the end.

 

L’incorruptibilité

J’ai juste fini d’écouter le cinquième message de la Formation ITERO récente, en français. Frère MR a beaucoup accentué le grand point II, à propos d’aimer notre Seigneur Jésus Christ dans l’incorruptibilité (Éphésiens 6.24). C’est quoi, aimer dans la corruptibilité ? C’est, par exemple, aimer dans l’orgueil (comme Pierre), aimer dans l’ambition (comme Frère et Jacques et leur mère). C’est simplement aimer en moi-même, dans ma vie naturelle. Cet amour est du “miel”, qui ferment et devient du levain.

J’ai déjà une expérience de ceci. LL, qui je connais depuis mon temps à Edmonton et qui était ma companion à la Formation, a commencé à m’ennuyer à cause de son “flakiness”. Elle semblait de vouloir un rendez-vous, mais elle ne répond jamais jusqu’à j’ai déjà fait des autres projets. Elle doit me rencontrer pour me donner le carte de SL, mais elle ne répond jamais et semble vouloir le garder le plus longtemps possible. Et, juste comme ça, je ne peux plus l’aimer comme autrefois. Si ce n’est pas de miel, alors c’est quoi le miel?

O Seigneur ! Mon amour pour les saints — et même pour Toi — est tout à fait conditionnelle, naturelle, inconstante. Je voudrais savoir ce qu’est aimer dans l’incorruptibilité, dans Ta propre nature d’amour. Fais-moi le même que Toi dans la vie et la nature — pour que je n’abîmerai pas Ton bâtiment avec du bois, du foin, du chaume.

God causes the growth

2 weeks ago, CH received the Lord at PS’s place — the 2nd time I brought him there. I really considered it sovereign of the Lord to remind me out of the blue to contact this classmate. Not knowing how to take care of this “newborn” but wanting to practice one-on-one nourishing, I began to send him a paragraph from the HWMR “Topics for New Believers” every morning. Over the past weekend, however, he said that he’s “not that into this stuff”. I guess that broke my heart a little, despite my knowing in theory and from experience that new ones aren’t generally born with big appetites.

PS’s fellowship with me over the phone was basically to take all pressure off. If he’s hungry, that’s the Lord’s mercy, and we do our part to feed. If he’s not right now, there’s no pressure. Don’t put a time limit on someone’s growth — e.g. “before I head to the Training”. We can’t cause the growth. Let the Lord do it.

That was a hard word to take because it savoured so much of passivity. But I needed the reminder — that “it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Lord, I honour and worship You as the Selector. It’s purely of Your mercy that I seek You, love You. Save me from overstepping Your sovereignty. I ask for Your mercy on these ones You’ve put around me — have mercy on them even as Your mercy reached me.

Assurance of faith

Someone said something to me today to the effect of, “Are you sure the Lord wants you to go at this time?” So I thought I’d better write down the experience before I forget.

Before I contacted Dr. CR on January 8th in request of an appointment to re-discuss the possibility of a LoA, I asked for the saints’ prayer in this way: “If this is His will and timing, may the details be worked out and my parents be at peace. If not, I’d like to accept that without any disappointment.” So it was different from September 2016, when I begrudged the Lord for putting me through an arduous process but not letting it go through. It was an opportunity — the last within the 4 years — and I just left it up to the Lord to open or close the door. The refrain in my heart was, and still is,

She took opportunity / To love You, Lord, with her best.

Dr. CR was supportive as always and observed that I had “clearly thought this through”. She did mention, however, that the special phenomenon this year of reaching class capacity could happen again next year.

I took some time to consider whether and how to write my letter to Dr. AS; my draft was reviewed by Dr. CR on January 17. The approval came only a day after I sent my letter, on the 19th. I took this as a confirmation from the Lord. In hindsight, I wonder whether my request was the “solution” to a class capacity issue.

The next hurdle would be my parents. Sr EC and br WSC suggested that I ask for a “guarantee” in writing that I would be able to return in 2019, which could further reassure my parents. This, however, was not to be borne: Dr. AS wrote back within minutes to say that he could not make such a promise. This was January 23rd.

At the moment of seeing that response, one could say that my faith “deflated”. I was instantly filled with all kinds of fears of the worst possibilities. I wrote to sr Esther: “I feel that I don’t yet have the full assurance of faith… Especially yesterday I felt the enemy was throwing a lot of doubts at me. I need the Lord to speak a definite word if He wants me to take this step.”

Well, the Lord knew how deep of a pit I had fallen into because, funny enough, right around that time br PD responded to my message from the night before asking whether I could call him.

That fellowship was my salvation. I’ll never forget when he asked along the lines of

If I gained the world and lost my Saviour / Were my life worth living for a day?

But I was just so fearful. When he asked “What do you want?”, I could say nothing except “…I don’t know.” Looking back, that felt like my Peter-denying-the-Lord moment. Br PD said, “If everything is perfectly smooth-sailing, then what need is there for you to contact the Lord?” And that’s how I later looked at it, but it didn’t convince me at the time.

But then my precious brother/spiritual father led me to pray-read. Romans 8, of all places.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery bringing you into fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!

The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.

And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.

For the anxious watching of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.

By the end, even my heavy-running tears couldn’t hold back my released spirit. I’m a son of God! Why should I be brought into fear again? God has made me His child, and He’s making me His heir! What in the present time could be worthy to be compared with that coming glory?

That was faith-infusion at its best. I then went into my “private room” and wept, more for my lack of faith in the faithful One than anything else. He then gave me these verses:

“Behold, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

“And the grace of our Lord superabounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:14)

Oh, what a God He is, and how I need to see Him as He is! This One loved me — otherwise how could I even dream of being for Him? Where fear formerly abounded, grace has superabounded!

And, very honestly, my anxiety about not being able to return just dissipated. I knew I still needed to talk to my parents, but I was no longer inside the “suction vacuum” of the enemy’s well-woven lies. Two days later, on the 25th, I wrote to sr Esther: “I’m much more at peace now. 2 Cor. 5:7 we walk by faith, not by appearance. This is an opportunity for the Lord to increase as faith in me. Praise Him, He is the Author and Perfector of our faith!”

Talking to my parents was, of course, my biggest anxiety. The shadows of the hurtful things that had been said in May and September of 2016 still hung there. I was in a bit of a limbo because I thought I had plenty of time to wait before being “ready” to have the conversation, which almost made it harder because the thought would linger at the back of my mind.

But then, the Year 3 track results came out.L


Update February 2019:
There wasn’t too much more to it, actually. The track roster came out, and my name wasn’t on it — that’s when I realised the program had already assumed I was taking the leave. That forced me to have the conversation with my parents (mom first, then dad, separately) right away. Long story short, the Lord opened the way on His part; on my part, I took the leave by faith.