He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Well, it's Mother's Day, so, it's my day!!! Yayayayay!!!! ;D
How did I celebrate it? I went to church. I was late because I had to attend to my younger daughter before I could go, so, I decided to go to another church where their service starts much later. I had to take the bus but it's a very short ride and the weather is wonderfully sunny / cloudy and cool today, so, I had a pleasant outing. I had seen the sign to that church and their service time whenever the bus passes by there, for a long while already, but I was puzzled as to where the church building is because the sign is located right in front of a Jewish Temple, yeah, a synagogue. But lately I realized that here in NYC, to defray the costs of maintaining a church building, congregations usually share their building or rent it out for certain times / days, to other congregations. That explains why there is a sign for a Korean church right in front of this Baptist church in our neighborhood. Then I realized, maybe this particular Christian church I want to visit is actually using the Jewish synagogue building for their Sunday worship. So, I just went there and I was right!
It turned out to be a Presbyterian congregation. Umm, a very typical one - really solemn, orderly, and subdued. Even the drum-tapping of the drummer at singing time was measured and nobody raises hands or sways as we sang. I was member of a Presbyterian church before so I wasn't new to this. The message was very timely though. It was simple, refreshing and plain, un-embellished preaching of the word of God on sin. They had communion and I had the feeling they have it every service and I think that's really good. They also honored all moms, everyone's mom, in a very simple but meaningful way. The pastor asked that we think of our moms, wherever she may be, and we honor them by clapping our hands – applause for all the good that they are / have been to us. I have been to many churches, different denominations, in many places, and I have seen so many ways moms have been honored – with presents, with flowers, with preaching on the topic of moms, with prayers at the altar, with public acknowledgment (by making every mom in the room stand) as everyone clapped, etc. This one's the most simple and among the most meaningful, I think. The pastor was Korean and everyone (!), except for one Caucasian lady, in the room was Korean, although the service was totally in English. He invited everyone for a fellowship over cupcakes after the service but I was feeling so out-of-place I decided to exit and go straight home instead.
When I got home I went online and found that Ptr. David Wilkerson's devotion page had been updated. His son Gary Wilkerson has continued posting his writings, both published and unpublished, and I am so blessed by that. The two most recent posts talk so much of the same topic as the Korean pastor above did: Sin and failure. Coincidence? That actually reminds me of the first book I read of David Wilkerson's, when I was a new Christian and still finding my way through my new life as a Christian. The book was, "Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?" It was written for people struggling with drugs, alcohol and whatever sin they were entangled in. The book was very helpful to me, especially that nobody actually shared the Gospel with me – I kind of understood it only as I read that book. It was only much later, some years later when I was already married, that I read his most popular book, "The Cross and the Switchblade." Meanwhile, I quote here in full, these two powerful devotional entries posted in his page, emphasis mine:

by David Wilkerson | May 5, 2011
"God's ultimate goal for all his children is abundant life. He never intended that we go through life focused on our sins and failures. The good news is that we serve a God of absolute love—a God of mercies who desires to bring his beloved ones into a place high above all turmoil. But we cannot take our place, seated with Christ in the heavenlies, until we are fully identified with his death and resurrection.
There can be no breakthrough into ascension life without experiencing death at the cross. The Holy Spirit has put within us a knowledge that we can never truly live until we truly die. We seem to know we have a date with death, a destiny relating to the cross of Christ.
Take a good look at where we are, with all our fears, emptiness, loneliness, failures, and compromising with sin. Consider how little of the Lord's promised peace we really possess. We have come up far short of what we know an overcoming Christian should be, yet we know God's Word speaks clearly of victory, peace, and freedom from sin's dominion. We have seen some who have broken through to that beautiful life of assurance and would like to ask: How did you arrive at such victory? And then we wonder how we can break through.
The Holy Spirit must bring us to the cross and make us face the reality of dying to the world and sin. The moment we begin to seek the Lord diligently with a desire to be under his lordship in all things, we will be irresistibly drawn by the Spirit. We will be brought to the end of ourselves, stripped, weakened, and without confidence in our flesh.
I am convinced the Holy Spirit is bringing his church back to the glorious truths of identification with Christ in death, resurrection, and ascension life.
Death can be very frightening, especially if you cannot see the glory on the other side of it. But he assures us of his everlasting love, in spite of our failures, and gives us peace and the joy and hope of his resurrection life."
by David Wilkerson | May 6, 2011
"After the Word tells us that it is God who makes wars to cease, this is added: 'Be still and know that I am God...' (Psalm 46:10).
The Hebrew word for "still" is raphah, which means to cease; let alone; become weak, feeble. It is from the root rapha, which means to mend and be made thoroughly whole by the hand of a physician.
How thoroughly consistent the Word of God is. He makes wars to cease and until he finishes his work, we are to cease our self-righteous efforts, trust everything into his hands, confess our weaknesses and feebleness, and trust our future and restoration into the hands of Christ, our Great Physician.
Loving believer, is your inner conflict tearing you apart? You may be buffeted by Satan, but he cannot hurt or destroy you. Most likely you are being stripped down in preparation for a deeper revelation of the cross so you can be made ready for greater service for God.
You are like Peter, who was stripped of everything before going to Pentecost. See this great man of God wandering aimlessly over the Judean hills—at rock bottom. Peter once walked on water and helped feed multitudes miraculously. He experienced the actual glory of God and was a blessed, prominent, useful, Christ-loved servant. But he sinned grievously, failing the Lord as few others did, and afterward, he wept and grieved, thinking he had lost his salvation and his ministry.
"What is wrong with me?" he must have asked himself over and again. "Why did I have no power or strength when tempted? Why no moral reserves—no will to resist the enemy? Why did I have to be the one to fall? How could a man of God do such a horrendous thing to his Lord? How could I have preached to others when I have no power in a crisis?"
God did not cause Peter's failure, but great good came out of it. It was a part of the stripping of God's man—permitted to reveal what was rooted deep in the inner man. Only failure could expose the pride and self-sufficiency. Failure broke Peter down and revealed to him his need for absolute dependence on his Lord for everything, including his purity and righteousness.
It is in the shadow of the cross that we endure our greatest temptation and failures and then break through to resurrection!"
What glorious, life-giving messages. As we meditate on them today, let's not forget to greet our moms, " Happy Mother's Day"! :-)

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D