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.

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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.

就算選錯,人生也不會毀了

This is one of the articles KL sent me way back in 2014 — I’m only just reading them now, and my next few posts will all be from that thread. This one isn’t directly relevant to our fellowship at the time, but it is about choices…

See article source here.

今天,朋友傳來一篇網路文章給我,大力推薦裏面的內容極具啟發性,很適合將來要作老師的我閱讀。

滑鼠剛點進去,我就被這篇文章的標題吸引住了。標題是:〈轟動整個台灣的親子文章:就算選錯,人生也不會毀了〉。

文章的作者是小野,內容不長,卻挺有意思的。大意就是他有兩個孩子,哥哥和妹妹的個性截然不同。哥哥很有個性,每次選東西都要選最好的、最大的、最貴的,常常作一個決定相當猶豫,反反覆覆。

反之,妹妹總是很堅定,選起東西來沒有一絲猶豫,而且,總是最簡單合宜的。

有一次,小野帶他們去玩具城買東西,哥哥從一進門就開始三挑四選,好不容易選到一個八百元的蝙蝠俠,不料結帳前,他又看上了一個限量版、要價四千元的蝙蝠俠。

最後玩具買成了,卻惹來母親的一頓挨罵,罵他沒主見,淨挑最貴的。反觀妹妹一開始,就挑了一個不怎麼起眼、要價不到一百元的小黑板,在眾人心中留下一個美好的印象。

事隔二十多年後,妹妹提起這事卻忍不住抱怨,其實早在當下,她就後悔自己的決定。無奈勢比人強,眾人都一面倒讚美她,拿她的表現罵哥哥,令她遲遲不敢換。但當時她幼小的心中,非常羨慕哥哥,每次都有自己的堅持,不惜大哭大鬧,最後都得到想要的。

長大後,兩人的發展也大相逕庭。

哥哥保持他一貫的作風,事事選最好,連追女生都選全校最漂亮的,沒追成功也不以為意,畢竟已經盡力過。大學畢業後,他填了美國電影研究所最好的前十所學校。

在當時的小野眼裏,這對既沒拍過電影也非相關科系的他而言,無疑是一個冒險又衝動的抉擇。然而結果卻出乎意料,他被哥倫比亞大學錄取,畢業作品回國後也拿到了金穗獎。

而相反的,從小溫柔體貼、行事果決的妹妹,在高一上學期結束時,居然投下一個震撼彈:「想要休學!」

原因是那年她沒有考上前三志願,在瀰漫著「只有前三志願才是學校」的社會氛圍中,這個挫敗讓她產生自我懷疑,萌生了想要休學的打算。

對此,小野夫婦又如何處理呢?首先,他們請女兒自己規劃休學後的學習與生活;第二,請女兒把高一念完再休學。到後來,女兒想通了,決定把高中讀完,盼望拚上自己想念的設計系。

故事的最後,作者下了一個重要的結論,就是人生的路每一段都有意義,失敗也好,走錯路也好,最後都讓你變成今天的自己。就算選錯了,人生也不會因此毀了。

基本上我能理解這個發人省思的結論。不過我也不斷問自己,人生的每一個選擇都是如此嗎?

其實,好像不全都是這個樣子的。

不同的選擇帶來兩種不同的結局

聖經中就記載了一個小故事,講到一個財主和一個乞丐。兩人的身份、生活大不相同,結局也大不相同。

財主非常富有,天天奢華宴樂,可惜的是,他並不相信神。

另外一位討飯的拉撒路,他信神,卻一生過窮苦的日子,巴不得從財主桌子上掉下來的東西得飽足;不僅如此,他渾身生瘡,連狗也來舔他的瘡。

直到有天,他們都死了,兩人的結局開始出現了「黃金交叉點」。

 

拉撒路被天使帶去樂園,在那裏享受安息及快樂;財主雖享盡了一生的榮華富貴,他卻在陰間受痛苦,甚至痛苦到一個地步,渴望有人沾點水涼涼他的舌頭,因為「他在火裏極其痛苦」。

不僅如此,對不信的人來說,「陰間的痛苦」僅是個起頭,他們還要遭受第二次的死(啟二十6,14,二一8。),就是在火湖裏永遠的滅亡,也就是永遠的沉淪。這才是最可怕的。

神給人自由選擇的意志

然而,神實在給人自由選擇的意志。我們願不願意信神,祂完全交由我們自己來選擇。

今天,祂同樣向所有的人發出呼召,要人作最上算的選擇,好叫一切信入祂的人,不至滅亡,反得永遠的生命。

為這緣故,祂吩咐所有信的人,要廣傳福音,將好信息帶給萬民,使他們免去永遠的沉淪;然而對不信的人而言,當人將福音傳給他們時,祂也把這個選擇權留給了人。

活著的時候,我們可以自由選擇,只是將來的結局,就必須個人承擔。

今天,這個選擇權同樣臨到了你,你會如何選擇呢?

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.

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.