Choosing tracks

That rank list on One45 opened Tuesday, and we’ve got two weeks to rank 24 tracks. I had agonized over the order of things quite a bit beforehand… but now that it’s actually open, I just feel like it’s so futile. The way they made the options, there’s no “perfect” track. And even if I could rank that perfect track #1, I still have a good chance of not getting it. I almost might as well leave the whole thing blank and see what the Lord would “lottery” me.

Anyway, just for the record, my thought process:

  • Apparently doing IM before Sg is a good idea… except only 1 of the 4 blocks allows that.
  • Doing Sg first (block A):
    • will allow me to rule it out once and for all.
    • will mean not seeing much of the summer sunshine.
    • will mean doing rural FP in the dead of winter.
  • Leaving FP for last (block B):
    • might be ok since I’m already pretty set on it (i.e. I’m going to do electives in it anyway).
    • might be good since I’ll know a lot by then and possibly get a letter.
    • might mean I’ll be tired/jaded/burned out by then.
  • Doing FP first (block C):
    • has the benefit of going rural during a nice summer month.
    • could have the benefit of fresh enthusiasm for my preferred specialty.
    • might mean not getting as much as I could out of the rural experience.
    • will mean doing Sg in the dead of winter.
  • Leaving Sg for last (block D):
    • would be problematic if I end up loving it, although from my shadowing experience that seems unlikely.
    • is the only way to get that IM experience before Sg.
  • Doing IM first (also block D):
    • is scary.
    • could actually be better since they won’t expect me to know anything.
    • could mean getting a bit of a longer summer during the 2-month “Psychation”

As things stand right now (deadline in 3 days), I’ve prioritized D and B and put A on the back burner. Who knows if that’s a good idea. I trust more in my sovereign Lord than in my own predictive analysis.

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Seigneur, Tu n’as jamais tort

Il y a deux jours que frère PD m’a envoyé un texto étrange, en chinois et avec mon surnom bête, demandant de me parler. J’ai anticipé quelque chose à propos du sujet qu’on a discuté en décembre 2016, mais j’ai anticipé quelque chose de positive parce qu’il n’y a pas de besoin de m’informer d’une mauvaise nouvelle…

J’ai agréé à parler à 19h00 hier, quand la réunion à maison a lieu. Le moment où j’ai entendu son voix, j’ai compris que c’était de mauvaise nouvelle. Il parlait lentement, comme pour m’entendre pleurer. En ce moment-là, j’ai senti de divers sentiments : 1) ce n’est pas une grosse affaire à moi ; 2) ça me fait triste de toute façon ; 3) frère P est trop gentil ; 4) je le mérite pour avoir eu des espérances ; 5) que c’était ridicule de penser autrement !

Ouais, de très divers sentiments. Mais quel «cherishing» que mon père spirituel voulait me consoler. Mon gain surpasse ma perte.

«C’est pas grave», je lui ai dit, «je l’ai anticipé».

Et puis, lui et sœur C et moi, nous avons prié ensemble. Merci, Seigneur. Nous t’aimons, et nous voulons t’aimer plus. Aies la première place en toutes choses. Merci pour ces saints qui m’aiment comme leur propre fille.

Merci que tu sais ce que tu fais. Tu n’as jamais tort. Même dans ma déception, je te revendique vers ton ennemi : mon Dieu a toujours raison. Il fait toutes choses bien. Son cœur est toujours bon envers moi. Sa volonté est bonne, agréable, et parfaite.

All the members

Two weeks ago, I sent sister L a text. That was the first of anything I ever sent to the couple since brother D’s condition no longer allowed them to attend meetings. I had been praying for them week after week on Tuesday nights for probably over a year… without really being touched to any significant degree. “I don’t know what to say in a situation like this” was my excuse. …… Oh, forgive me Lord!

That was the week brother R shared that the couple needed a word from the Lord, and so did each one of us. A word to command Him with. A word to hold Him to.

I think He finally gave me that word tonight. It came through some cryptic fellowship as to why brother M.C. chose visiting Vancouver on the Lord’s Day over holding a conference for all the Lower Mainland churches. D.K. put it well: “Under normal circumstances, a church [in such a situation] would be suffering.” That pierced my heart. Suffering? I feel no suffering. Sure, Vancouver has been facing some issues, but overall things seem ok. Do we need special encouraging?

The word that came was, “whether one member suffers, all the members suffer” (1 Cor. 12:26). The tears just streamed. Where was my feeling for these suffering members? Where was my concern for them? Oh, how I’ve been shut in with what concerns me!

As the prayers continued, I finally realised what we really mean when we say “The church needs our brother.” How can a body, having lost the function of a member as important as a hand, not cry outAll the members respond — to the pain, the lack, the suffering. And how can the Head not hear such a corporate cry? He knows the suffering; He has seen it (Exo. 3:7). I was reminded that the archangel Michael met resistance for 21 days before Daniel’s prayers could be answered (Dan. 10:13). How much more we need to pray! This is why the enemy uses wearing-out tactics. May the church loose on earth what has been loosed in heaven.

2017 going on 2018

The Winter Training (Crystallization Study of Leviticus, Part 1) finished on the 30th this year, and I’m home just in time to usher in the new year. Lots of learning and lots to come.

Highlights from 2017:

  • “Are you ok to stop, to take no step at all?” – Jesus, Y1T2
  • “We hate to be busy and fruitless. Give us effective prayers.” – J. Brooks, Düsseldorf
  • “Thou art enough however long the day; Thou art enough however long the night.” – Hymn 671
  • His grace is sufficient… for what? His grace is sufficient for me to die — to my sense of justice, of self-right. – cf. Seer of the Divine Revelation, ch3
  • “For it was fitting for Him… in leading many sons into glory…” – Heb. 2:9, Plovdiv
  • “Hand over, hand over, hand over.” – M. Stewart, Poland
  • “If therefore the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36
  • “The church is Christ. Eventually, your saying ‘I’m sorry’ is Christ, and your saying ‘I forgive you’ is Christ. ‘For to me, to live is Christ’ (Phil. 1:21).” – T. Dvorak, Richmond

Aspirations for 2018:

  • “Dying to live” – W. Lee; “I die daily” – 1 Cor. 15:31
  • “We all have to discover what Christ’s life is capable of doing in us.” – T. Goetz, Poland
  • “experience Christ in His experiences” – WT Msg2; “My death is painful; His death is sweet.”
  • “Live Thyself, Lord Jesus, through me…” – Hymn 403, WT Msg3
  • “Lord, may You as the sin offering nullify, undo, everything the enemy has ever done in me.” – WT Msg7
  • “Jesus Christ… openly portrayed crucified” – Gal. 3:1, WT Msg9
  • “learn the secret… practice speaking with the Lord constantly; then spontaneously, you will live Christ.” – WT Msg10
  • “Lord, bring me to the point where I’m at peace with everyone and everything.” – WT Msg11
  • “Our week is for the Table.” – WT Msg12; “Father, let it be now in Your recovery.” – cf. John 4:24

A secret & a practice

A dear sister said she had “a paragraph from a page of a book” for me. I wasn’t able to offer her paper, so she wrote on a napkin:

The Organic Aspect of God’s Salvation
page 54
Begins with “When we have problems in our daily life” and ends with “then spontaneously you will live Christ.”
It has a secret in it and a practice in it.

And she told me to re-read the paragraph every week as a reminder. So here it is:

When we have problems in our daily life, we do not have to seek advice from others, because we have a spirit in us and the Lord as the Spirit dwelling in our spirit is very near to us. We can ask Him about everything, without any need to use the telephone or the fax machine, for He can talk with us right within us. You can talk with Him and confer with Him in everything. The Lord’s Word says, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). Hence, if you have some problem, you just need to tell Him. He is right within you, and He is with you face to face. The Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—is in us not to trouble us but to be our Paraclete, Comforter, Supporter. I always pray, “O Lord, now I am going to take a walk. Support me, sustain me, and strengthen me.” This is to drink the Lord. In this way I have no anxiety. When anxiety comes, you should say, “O Lord, this anxiety is Yours, not mine; I give it to You because You bear it for me.” Thus, you receive the Lord’s element into you and metabolism will work constantly in you. Consequently, what is expressed through you outwardly is Christ. This is to live Christ. Those who do not know this secret consider to live Christ a difficult thing. Actually, you just need to practice speaking with the Lord constantly; then spontaneously you will live Christ.

Wow. I do hope the Lord will make this more real to me in coming days.

I did actually have an experience just yesterday. Finals are in less than a week, so this is crunch time, but I’m going to write it down before I neglect to. It was a fridge issue with my newest housemate. I know — sounds trivial. But the way she made it out to be — and the way I interpreted the way she made it out to be — was not. To me, she was handling the issue in a super petty way that left a bad taste in my mouth. Well, I complained about it in the morning to a classmate. The Lord quietly bothered me about that until after lunch. I was washing my dishes when I realized, “Why didn’t I talk to the Lord first?” So then I did. I told Him just how annoyed I was — with all rationales provided — and then added that I did not need this bother at a time when I needed to focus on studying. And you know what? I felt released. Like some weight came off my shoulders. Not saying that I lived Christ the entire rest of that day (in fact, I failed again in the same matter in the evening), but I really felt the Lord came in.

So, why not? Why not tell Him? Especially those sticky frustrations that your mind keeps wandering back to. Confide in Him. Confer with Him. He’s with you face to face.

“My times are in Thy hand”

My times are in Thy hand” — was recommended the transcript of this 1891 Charles Spurgeon sermon by a dear sister. Finally got to read it through today… and I have to say, it’s beautiful. The basis is one of David’s psalms:

“But I trusted in Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand… Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant: save me for Thy mercies’ sake.” (Psalm 31:14-16, KJV)

I hadn’t paid much attention to this precious passage before, but I have expressed similar sentiments in some of my previous posts (like this one and this one). So I quote Spurgeon without comment:

  1. Many are the fiery darts of the wicked one; but our shield is one.
  2. He that can say, “This kingdom is mine,” makes a royal claim; he that can say, “This mountain of silver is mine,” makes a wealthy claim; but he that can say to the Lord, “Thou art my God,” hath said more than all monarchs and millionaires can reach.
  3. To be entirely at the disposal of God is life and liberty for us.
  4. “My times”, these change and shift; but they change only in accordance with unchanging love, and they shift only according to the purpose of One with whom is no variableness nor shadow of a turning.
  5. Everything that concerns Christ touches the great Father’s heart. He thinks more of Jesus than of all the world. Hence it follows that when we become one with Jesus, we become conspicuous objects of the Father’s care.
  6. Thy Father comprehends all things, though thou dost not: let his wisdom be enough for thee.
  7. He has all heaven to worship him, and all worlds to govern; and yet “my times” — the times of such an inconsiderable and unworthy person as I am — are in his hand. Now, what is man that it should be so? Wonder of wonders, that God should not only think of me, but should make my concerns his concerns, and take my matters into his hand!
  8. “It is not my business to provide for myself or for my family: my times are in God’s hand; and his name is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide; and I will not do a questionable thing, though it would fill my house with silver and gold from the cellar to the chimney-pot. I shall not meddle with my Lord’s business. It is his to provide for me: it is mine to walk uprightly, and obey his Word.”
  9. When you have a lawsuit, the opposite side will like to come and talk with you, to see if they can get something out of you. It will be your wisdom to reply, “If you have anything to say, say it to my solicitor.” If the devil comes to you, and you get into an argument with him, he will beat you; for he is a very ancient lawyer, and he has been at the business for so many ages that you cannot match him. Send him to your Advocate. Refer him to the Wonderful, the Counsellor. Ever shelter beneath this fact, “My times are in his hand. I have left the whole business to another, and I cannot dishonor him by intermeddling.”
  10. Why is it, my sister …why do you vex yourself about a matter which is in the hand of God? … Tell me, did you ever make a sixpence by worrying? It is a very unprofitable business. Do you answer, “What, then, are we to do in troublous times”? Why, go to him into whose hand you have committed yourself and your times. Consult with infinite wisdom by prayer; console yourself with infinite love by fellowship with God. Tell the Lord what you feel, and what you fear.
  11. When we get into a difficulty we shall say, “I am now going to see the wonders of God, and to learn again how surely he delivers them that trust in him.”
  12. The future is intended to be a sealed book. The present is all we need to have before us. Do thy day’s work in its day, and leave to-morrow with thy God.
  13. The best way to live above all fear of death is to die every morning before you leave your bedroom. The apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” When you have got into the holy habit of daily dying, it will come easy to you to die for the last time.
  14. God does not answer all his people’s prayers, for he has better things for them than they ask.
  15. Queen Elizabeth wished one of the leading merchants of London to go to Holland to watch her interests there. The honest man told her Majesty that he would obey her commands; but he begged her to remember that it would involve the ruin of his own trade for him to be absent. To this the Queen replied, “If you will see to my business, I will see to your business.” With such a royal promise he might willingly let his own business go; for a queen should have it in her power to do more for a subject than he can do for himself.
  16. Sir Francis Drake, after he had sailed round the world, came up the Thames, and when he had passed Gravesend there came a storm which threatened the ship. The brave commander said, “What! Go round the world safely, and then get drowned in a ditch? Never!” So we ought to say. God has upheld us in great tribulations, and we are not going to be cast down about trials which are common to men. … “My times are in thy hand,” and therefore the end will be glorious.

Just a word on #11, since I haven’t yet written on it. Possibly my biggest take-away from my 2nd term of the FTTA was from a shepherding appointment where I learned that I can prove God’s economy. When I don’t know, can’t go on, have no way out, I have a blessed opportunity: to prove God’s economy. The sister didn’t explain further, but my understanding is this: I take care of letting Him dispense Himself into me, and He takes care of everything else. These 4 years of med school and however many years of residency are for this; the future that Spurgeon called “a sealed book” is for this; the matter that I’m currently struggling with is for this. And one thing I can be assured of: “the end [of this dispensing] will be glorious”.

Revision/addition: I just went and watched the recording of br BC’s memorial meeting (2016 Feb 27 in NYC), where br Dennis C spoke the source of the sister’s fellowship. I’m so glad I found it — so I don’t have to live forever in my own interpretation. Here it is in his words:

There was a time in my serving here when I was passing through something. It didn’t seem like it was that light (2 Cor. 4:17), but it was some affliction. I came to brother B, and I kind of expected him to sympathize with me and say “Yeah, yeah, that’s tough.” But he didn’t do that. He said “Brother, you have a golden opportunity. You will never find yourself in this situation again in the rest of your life. Now is the time you have to apply God’s economy to this situation. Test it! I’m a scientist — we have to test it! If this is God’s economy, it has to work in this environment as well as that environment.” I was shocked by this. Somewhat like Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 — don’t try to change your status. Don’t try to change your environment. Just remain there with God. And I practiced this. And I was so happy — it works! It really works. Even though the environment didn’t change, I was enjoying the Lord.

This is golden. That latter verse was my rhema from P&J’s wedding (2016 Oct 22 in Surrey) and pretty much my anchor through the first term of being stuck back in school. (I thought I had a post on it, but guess not until now…)

Each one, brothers, in what status he was called, in this let him remain with God. (1 Corinthians 7:24)

“Don’t be so quick”, the Lord was saying, “don’t be so quick to get out of your current status. Learn to remain. But don’t just remain in the status — remain with Me.” So I’m still learning to remain. Again and again — first term, second term, during the summer — I asked the Lord, “What about now? Is now the time for me to finish the training?” His response was just the same: “Remain where you are, with Me.” And it’s true — I’ll never find myself in this situation again in the rest of my life. So now is the time for me to apply God’s economy. And test it!

Methinks He’s happy to be tested in this way.

Lessons from Europe

Just jotting these down before school starts and crowds them out of my brain…

  1. In Düsseldorf:
    • Coordination is everything. No oneness? Nothing counts.
    • How to coordinate with someone who does their own thing? It’s hard.
    • have to die. What someone else needs is not my business.
    • At the end of the day, whether my prayers were answered or not, He Himself has to be enough. “Thou art enough however long the day / Thou art enough however dark the night” (hymn 671).
    • “…and all the members do not have the same function” (Romans 12:4).
    • You say you’re caring for new ones, for local saints. Where’s your care for the ones you’re living with? Do you love their children?
    • What are these Taiwanese sisters doing here? Oh Lord, may they not do more tearing down than building up.
  2. In Berlin:
    • The four living creatures do move like lightning.
    • Kirchentag: “We’ve just had 4 days of church, and you’re handing out Bibles?” People really are sick of religion…
    • Not every full-timer is church-supported. There are entire regions that need to be prayed for.
  3. In Bankya:
    • Hallelujah, we’ve ended our search. What a joy to be on the genuine ground of oneness.
  4. In Sofia:
    • Oh, the vanity, darkness, and death of the Orthodox religion! If they don’t believe the authority of the Bible, what do they have?
    • Oh Lord, what about some Bulgarians?
  5. In Thessaloniki:
    • Look at this older American couple speaking Greek! It is possible.
    • I can see why Paul’s spirit was provoked in Acts 17:16… Oh Lord, the idolatry! Will You not rescue some?
  6. In Petrich:
    • Lord, this family needs You. Save them from idleness. Send some more to co-labour here.
  7. In Split:
    • Wow, what damage the enemy has done on the young people… Lord, pluck more out of this crooked and perverted generation.
    • Lord, if You can do it here, surely You can do it anywhere.
    • These sheep need shepherds! How will the Lord meet this need?
    • Lord, cover this brother’s hiring of young saints… May money not stumble.
  8. In Dublin:
    • You need parent consent papers when traveling with minors! And there might be racism in there… But anyway, praise Him — He needed a deeper turn from all of us.
    • Of course they love her even though she makes us wait all morning. Was I like this as a teenager? I guess moms must feel the way I do right now…
    • Of course they watch a movie until midnight when we have to get up at 4am… Teenagers don’t think consequences — you won’t get them that way.
  9. In Edinburgh:
    • Sometimes, you just have to let them sleep.
  10.  In Kingston:
    • It really is possible for church kids to go through a decade of meetings without being able to speak a thing. What use is it to berate them?
    • Do you love them? That is the question.
    • Her realisation that she falls short is good, but what can it do in the long term? Lord, consistent, long-term pursuit. You have to do it somehow.
    • Not many of the saints know how to shepherd… Oh Lord, may they not use the letter to kill…
    • Oh, the materialism! Save the saints, the young people from this.
  11. In Paris:
    • Lord, too many Asians in the church! What about Your local expression?
    • TH is paying the price to be here; what about me, Lord? Can I bring my education here?
  12. In Lyon:
    • More French people, Lord!
    • We went to the restaurant to visit them, and they didn’t even talk to us… Oh Lord, something is lacking here…
  13. In Poland (EYPC):
    • H really opened up about the sense of life diminishing. Lord, have a way to turn things around this year.
    • H cried about regretting wasted years… But Lord, again, will things be so different this year? Who can sustain their pursuit apart from You?
    • “What does your salvation mean? If you don’t even know that, then what are you doing here?” Made J cry… Ohhh Lord. Don’t let my strong self damage Your young ones. How I need to learn not to “shepherd” with an iron rod…
    • The burden is on the continuation. JJ: “Often when we pray we realise that we’re not the ones meant to do it”.
  14. In Brussels:
    • Quite amazing, the testimonies of how the Lord protected His people from terrorist attacks…
    • How sweet, A&GD… Lord, I want to be matched like this.
  15. Back home:
    • The parents heard worse than I had imagined…… What can be more unwise than pointing out the faults of children to their parents? Oh, so many lessons to learn…
    • Do not counsel parents on how to care for their kids! They always know better. “That works for some people, but not for everyone”. It’s true! Who are you to try to fit everyone into the same shoes?
    • Oh Lord, cover and heal.