Friday, February 27, 2009

All We Need...

We have all we need in You

And all we need is You

All we need is You

Rich or poor, God I want You more

Than anything that glitters in this world

Be my All, All consuming Fire

We have all we need in You

And all we need is You

All we need is You

You can have all my hands can hold

My heart, mind, strength, and soul

Be my All, All consuming Fire

All we need, all we need, all we need is You…

Perceptions and Interpretations

Lately, my attention has been drawn to noticing something in particular.  Our perceptions play a major role in how we interpret many aspects of our daily lives and our relationships.  But what we perceive is not always what really is.  Something interesting happened to me in the last few weeks which caused my attention to be drawn to this phenomenon.  More than once someone suggested to me, and to others around me, that I had said something in particular.  The strange thing was that the things which they suggested I had said I had not truly spoken at all.  However, these persons made their suggestions in total sincerity. 

The first time this happened recently, I was completely confused and caught by surprise.  I wondered to myself, “Did I really say that?”  I even asked the person if they were sure I had spoken the very exact words they claimed to have heard from my lips, and they assured me that I had.  But I could not find any recollection in my mind of speaking the words which I had supposedly spoken just a few minutes before.  Fortunately, for sanity of my mind, there were others in the room witnessing this dialogue and I had to ask them, “Did I say those exact words earlier?”  They did not concur that I had.  I had been talking about some emotions which I had experienced in a particular situation, but this person had actually interpreted me to have said things which I had not said.  Why? 

Subsequently, that person proceeded to express some of their personal emotions regarding a situation taking place in their own life.  And lo and behold, guess what they said about their own self?  They spoke the very words about their self and their emotions that they had suggested *I* had spoken earlier!  Click, the lights immediately turned on in my understanding.  You see, that person had interpreted what I had talked about earlier to mean the same thing they felt and thought about a situation in their own life.  So they had taken what I said and, in trying to understand it, had actually interpreted their personal thoughts and feelings into it.  However, their thoughts and emotions were not exactly the same as the reality of my own.  They were different, and I had felt and spoken different things.  But that experience began to shed light on this subject I now write about, and it also prepared me for another experience to come just a week later.

Days later, my husband, Michael, and I were with a group of people having some discussions.  And as one person attempted to express their feelings about a particular matter, this person also suggested that the feeling they were expressing was exactly what Michael and I had also mentioned to them in the past.  What?  At first, I was caught off-guard and stunted, unsure of what to reply.  In a split second, a million thoughts raced through my mind wondering if I had really expressed such a feeling to this person in previous conversations.  But, as before, I could not find any recollection of doing so or of even feeling what they were suggesting we felt about the matter in discussion.  So instead of addressing the emotion assigned to us, I proceeded to explain to the group what Michael and I really felt about the matter.  Later on, when I had the time to reflect on this situation, I knew that the person had actually stated their own feelings about the matter being discussed and, for whatever reasons, had perceived their personal feelings to be ours also because of past discussions we had together about the matter. 

Through these two surprising circumstances, the Lord began to reveal something to me about human nature.  In our desire to connect with others, there are times when we place our own ideas, thoughts, and emotions upon others.   We make assumptions about them that we should not make and interpret things incorrectly.  We sometimes fail to hear and see things for what they really are or are not.  Unfortunately, there are also many instances in which our past experiences and how we feel or think about any number of things mars our eyesight from the clear truth before us.

One of my first posts on this blog, “About That Brain of Ours...”, has to do with our mind seeing things based on its past experiences and understandings.  It is a post speaking of “optical illusions” and the tricks played on the mind.  It speaks about our mind telling our eyes that they see things which are not really true and of it making interpretations and assumptions based on what input it has previously received or what experiences it has already known.  That concept is very similar to the one I write about in this post. 

What we might perceive or interpret may or may not be the actual truth of a matter.  Even our emotions can often—too often—lie to us in terrible ways.  They try to convince us of things which are far from the truth.  For example, when my heart has been badly wounded, I am almost convinced by the pain that there is no way I will survive the wounding.  My emotions tell me to quit and give up.  But that is all a lie.  What we may perceive is happening in a group setting, in a relationship, or in any circumstance of our life could or could not be the actual thing taking place.  Is our eyesight tainted by previous experiences, things we have heard, or things we have been taught?  Are we wearing a particular set of eyeglasses, focused on a particular way of looking at things?  Or is something we are concerned about also giving us a skewed perception of how things really are?

Michael and I also noticed this type of thing happening as some friends were sharing how they viewed some dynamics taking place in our group.  They perceived something, but Michael and I had not seen or felt the same thing in that situation.  And yet, there have been other times in our lives, when Michael or I have expressed having seen or sensed something and upon mentioning our perception to someone else, they have stated that they did not see or feel the same thing we did.  Go figure!

I find it totally fascinating how two people can observe and/or hear the same exact thing and come away with two totally different sets of thoughts, views, and ideas of what has taken place.  This is where I believe we must extend great and abounding grace to each other.  We all come from different backgrounds and different experiences, and we are all very unique individuals.  Each of us is at a different place in the journey.   In addition, parts of our characters and actions are by-products of our past experiences and our understandings based on what we have already gone through in the past or are going through in the present. 

Here is the STUPENDOUS news:

Jesus Christ meets with us exactly where we are!  He works with us, in us, and through us right where we are.  God was sovereign over our past life, our past experiences, and the things we have been taught and have learned previously.  Equally so, God is sovereign in our present.  Christ meets us where we are because we are there in accordance with God’s unique plan for each of us and His moving in our lives.  I am where I am spiritually because this is where God has brought me.  The same is true for every other individual whom He has created.

“A man cannot get anything if it should not be given him out of heaven.” (John 3:27)

Even if a brother or a sister in Christ sees things differently than I do, it is only because that is exactly where God has them.  Just like this is exactly where He has me.  He is ever working with us where we are and with how and who we are right now.  Taking us forward, step by step.  Transformation takes place moment by moment.  For our finite minds, the amazing results are usually not seen except by viewing things with hindsight. 

Some Scriptures come to mind, and I will end this post with them because I feel I’m somewhat rambling at this point…

“For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.  O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!  How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!  For, who knew the mind of the Lord? Or, who became His adviser? Or, who gives to Him first, and it will be repaid him?  Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!  I am entreating you, then brethren, by the pities of God, to present your bodies a sacrifice, living, holy, well pleasing to God, your logical divine service, and not to be configured to this eon, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for you to be testing what is the will of God, good and well pleasing and perfect.”  (Romans 11:32-36, Romans 12:1-2)

“…He Who undertakes a good work among you, will be performing it until the day of Jesus Christ…”  (Philippians 1:6)

“The God Who makes the world and all that is in  it, He, the Lord inherent of heaven and earth, is not dwelling in temples made by hands, neither is He attended by human hands, as if requiring anything, since He himself gives to all life and breath and all.  Besides, He makes out of one every nation of mankind, to be dwelling on all the surface of the earth, specifying the setting of the seasons and the bounds of their dwelling, for them to be seeking God, if consequently, they may surely grope for Him and may be finding Him, though to be sure, not far from each one of us is He inherent, for in Him we are living and moving…”  (Acts 17:24-28)

Resting in HIS sovereignty over all things and all people…

Carrying the Death and Life of Christ

Last night, as Michael and I were having our weekly meeting with some friends, the Lord spoke more answers to my random musings regarding the problem with pain in relationships. Oddly enough, (Ha! more like by God’s ordained appointment) we had some renewed discussions on the opposites of things and not being able to know one thing without its opposite also in view. Good and evil, black and white, darkness and light, etc. These things came up without my mentioning anything about what I had just written regarding the pain of relationships. Through our discussions, we were all reminded (again, as we often are) that all things are out of God, as it says in 1 Corinthians 8:6:

“For us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him,

and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him”

God even tells us Himself that He is the Creator of ALL things, as it is written in Isaiah 45:5-12:

“I am YHWH, and there is no other; Except for Me, there is no Elohim…there is no one apart from Me; I am YHWH, and there is no other. Former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of good and Creator of evil, I, YHWH, make all these things. Drip down from above, heavens, and let the skies distil righteousness; let the earth open up, let salvation bud, and let righteousness sprout together with it; I YHWH, I create it…I Myself made the earth and created humanity on it; I, My hands stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I instructed..”

Some of the Scriptures that the Lord made to stand out to me through last night’s discussions were Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 4:6-12:

“…for the God Who says that, out of darkness light shall be shining, is He Who shines in our hearts, with a view to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the transcendence of the power may be of God and not of us. In everything, being afflicted, but not distressed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not perishing—always carrying about in the body the deadening of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we who are living are ever being given up to death because of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

We carry the treasure of Christ in our frail, decaying, and marred human bodies, so that the awe-inspiring power of God will be revealed for what it is and from Whom it is. Enlightening man to the truth that great and majestic power does not come from our own selves; we are not great, GOD is great! Daily, we carry around with us death that life may also be revealed! (There are those opposites again.)

Pondering all of that, I realized that I should have also noted in my previous musings, that not only have I become more sensitive to the pain of relationships, but I have also become more sensitive to the JOY of relationships. The joy is fuller than ever before, hence, I also feel the pain in greater depth. I long for joy, and pain is difficult to endure. When I wrote a couple of days ago, I wrote in the midst of wrestling with pain, so I spoke of pain. A few posts before that, I wrote of the great joy in my home church experiences and relationships because I stood in the midst of an experience of joy.

Joy and sorrow; all part of our life on this earth. There’s more that has become a bit clearer this week that I hope to write about, but that is for another time…

May God continue to hold and shape my heart in His most capable hands…

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Pain of Relationships

I don’t know why, but as life moves on day by day, I am more deeply struck not only by the joys of relationships but also by the pains of relationships. 

Why do relationships have to be so painful at times?  So suddenly, how can a moment of pure joy with a person be followed by a moment of heart breaking sorrow? 

I don’t have solutions that can be listed in some book called “7 Steps to Pain Free Relationships”.  I merely write about this for therapeutic purposes; hoping that writing about the pain in relationships will play a part in the healing that I look and hope for in the future.  I wait for the healing that God will certainly carry out in His perfect way and timing.  This post is more of my own random musings on this topic, and maybe food for thought to others.

Why are we always hurting the people who love us the most?  Whom we love the most?  That is quite the irony, isn’t it? 

Can it be that in the depths of love we also discover the depths of pain?  Is it that without one we also cannot appreciate the other?  As without the presence of evil we also don’t know the presence of good?

Why do we hurt those in our lives who deserve to be hurt by us the least? 

Why are we selfish against those who have shown us such selflessness?

Why do we show conditional love towards the very ones who unconditionally love us?  I don’t understand any of this whatsoever. 

Why do we take for granted the presence of the very ones whom we should least take for granted? 

How can we, with one careless stroke of the tongue, speak abounding love one minute and hateful, spiteful words the next? 

Why do we find ourselves attacking and fighting the very people who would have fought for us and on our behalf? 

Why is it so easy to point fingers of fault and place blame on another?  How do we, so carelessly and thoughtlessly, decide to attack and blame someone else for what has gone wrong, rather than accept responsibility for our own wrong doings?

Oh, we do behave in some backwards ways, don’t we?  Ways that do not make any sense whatsoever.

The Apostle Paul spoke of the warring of our natures in Romans 7:14-25:

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.  But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.  So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.  I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

There is a great battle taking place between

our soul where the human flesh desires to have something for its own selfish benefits, no matter the cost to others


our spirit where the spirit of God speaks to us revealing the truth of what will bring true love, peace, grace, and righteousness in the best interest of all concerned

I know that God is working on teaching and showing me something through all of the depths and emotions of such situations and pains.  I stand on both sides of the problem; wounding others and being wounded myself.  I’m not sure I am quite getting this lesson God is teaching; but I think I do see something taking shape in my finite mind. 

What I do know right now is that, with each passing day, I hurt more deeply when the relationships in my life experience difficulty that is not quickly resolved.  I experience great sorrow when a trespass has occurred.  There is such a pain in my heart when the flow of peace, love, and grace has been severed from any of the relationships in my life.  Why I have become more sensitive to these things, God only knows.

As I first began to type these random musings, I wanted to write that I had no solutions; no answers to this problem of pain in relationships that we face every day.  However, as I was bringing this writing to a close, the God of heaven and earth reminded me that there is a solution.  The answer is HIM; more of Him and less of our own selfish, self-preserving selves.  How do we “do” this?  Is there a 7 step plan?  No. 

HE does it.  We ask Him to do it in us.  We ask and welcome Him to have HIS way with us, through us, and in our lives.  We stop protecting ourselves from His ways, and we stop holding ourselves back from His work in our lives.  We hand ourselves into His faithful hands, and He will take care of the rest. 

For His glory…

Saturday, February 21, 2009

12 Year Old Speak Out on Abortion

This is from the website: 

YOPP! That’s the final word that made all the difference at the end of Dr. Seuss’ story Horton Hears a Who. May we suggest that it stands for Young Ones Praying and Prophesying. With that in mind meet Lia. She’s a 12-year-old seventh grader that recently decided to make a courageous stand in her school by giving a persuasive speech on the topic of abortion. Even when her teachers strongly encouraged her to choose a different topic, she decided to stick with what she felt passionate about. An email from her mother describes what led Lia to make such a bold move.

You can go to the Bound 4 Life website to read further about Lia’s journey as she speaks out on abortion.  There’s an update with what has been happening with her speech and the speech competition she entered.

My congratulations and applause to Lia for her passionate stand for life!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gao Zhisheng Held Hostage in China

I just received the following email from ChinaAid regarding another Christian brother in China:

Gao Zhisheng Held Hostage

Gao Zhisheng, part of the ChinaAid Legal Defense Team, was kidnapped by more than a dozen police on February 4. He has not been seen or heard from since. Gao wrote an account in his own words which reveals the severe torture he suffered for more than 50 days when he was first abducted. He wrote how he was forced to lie naked on the floor for 13 days and nights:

"The electric shock baton was put all over me. And my full body; my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang (one of the interrogators) then shocked me in my genitals…. Every time when I was tortured, I was always repeatedly threatened … 'Your death is sure if you share this with the outside world."

Gao's family is concerned that Gao may be experiencing the same abuse now. Because of his work defending underground Christians and others persecuted in China, the Chinese government has tried to silence him since 2005. His wife and two children have also been abused, tormented and cut off from the outside world during this time.

ChinaAid calls all Christians and those who value human dignity and justice around the world to act on Gao Zhisheng’s behalf.

You can read further and take some action at the ChinaAid website.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Zhang Jian, a Christian brother in China

In their email update to me, China Aid also included the following information regarding a Chinese Christian brother, Zhang Jian:


Update on Zhang Jian

Around noon on October 16, Zhang Jian, Pastor Bike’s son, received an urgent phone call from his mother. Plainclothes Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers had broken into her upstairs apartment and were throwing all the family's belongings out into the street:

"When I got there, I saw my mom lying on the ground being knocked down by these thugs ... I tried to use my body to protect my mom from being hurt by them. Then this group of 15 officers immediately surrounded me and started beating my head and body with iron bars."

The violent attack lasted 25 minutes. Authorities persecuted this family to try to stop their ministry to orphans and house churches. After ChinaAid sent an e-mail alert, many of you immediately sent help and spoke out on the family’s behalf. The Chinese government reacted in an unprecedented way.


You can read the full story of what happened after people spoke out on behalf of Zhang Jian at the China Aid website.

Update on Shuang Shuying

I received the following email today from China Aid:


Your actions made a difference for
Shuang Shuying and Zhang Jian!

Shuang Shuying Released!

"Every time when my son came to visit me and shared with me that brothers and sisters from all over the world had been praying for me, I felt greatly strengthened and empowered which has enabled me to continue to live."

Shuang Shuying was released from prison on February 8 where she was held for two years on fabricated charges. She went immediately to the hospital to see her husband, Hua Zaichen, 91, who was dying. Though he did not regain consciousness, Shuang Shuying sat at his bedside holding his hand. The following day, Shuang Shuying’s husband passed away. Within the first hours after her release, she wrote a letter thanking all those around the world who prayed, spoke out for and supported her and her husband during this time of great trial.


You can read Shuang Shuying’s letter of thanks on the China Aid website  


Thursday, February 12, 2009

An AMAZING Organic Church Experience

WOW!!!  It has been SO WORTH the wait!!

A little over three and a half years ago, God pulled us out of the institutional church.  At that time, we saw it more as Him merely pulling us out of the particular church we were attending at the time.  But shortly after that painful but most needed exodus experience, God planted a desire in my heart and a vision in my mind for something that I had no previous knowledge about.  He planted a vision and a desire for home church fellowship.  This wasn’t a vision for just any home church that was blossoming within me; it was an intense desire for an organic home church experience.  At that time, what I saw was a group of believers coming together in a home to worship and share the Lord together without religious boundaries, without self-centered agendas, without an order of worship or a church bulletin, without hierarchies, and without limits on how the boundless God of this universe can move and work in such a body.  I knew what I wanted, but didn’t know how to go about it or where to find it.

Lo and behold, the Lord brought a relationship into my life with a Christian sister who “just happened” to be involved in a home church fellowship.  She shared with me her experience, and I was thrilled to hear that there was actually such a thing taking place near me.  She let me borrow some of the books she owned about the home church concept, and I was astonished when I began to read them and within those pages to read what had already been planted in my heart and mind.  I wanted to jump in and be a part of it immediately.  But at that time, my husband, Michael, wasn’t so sure about it.  He wasn’t sure how it really worked or if it would work; he was skeptical.  So I waited, prayed, cried to the Lord, and waited some more.  Finally, Michael became willing to at least read a bit of the books which I had borrowed, that he may understand the concept of home church a bit better.  But even after reading some of the books he still wasn’t “convinced”; and he couldn’t really get into the authors’ writing styles. 

In the meantime, both of us agreed that God was not leading our family to go “church shopping”.  We didn’t have it in us to go from church to church on Sundays trying to find a “perfect” new church home.  Instead, on many Sunday mornings, we would gather our children in the living room of our home and we would have “family church”.  We would sing together, talk about the Scriptures and God together, and discuss any number of spiritual things.  This had its lovely moments and not so lovely moments as family life goes.  Mostly, they were good times.  After a while, our daughter begged for us to be together with other people; she longed for community with others, as did the rest of us.  Church community and fellowship with only the five of us was greatly lacking something.

I’m not sure how it finally happened, but one day Michael was ready to visit the church of that Christian sister who was already part of a home church fellowship.  We visited with this beautiful group of people for a few months.  But for God’s reasons (that only now I can understand) and through various circumstances that took place, God clearly showed us that we were not meant to remain as part of their fellowship.  It was sad to leave the fellowship of truly dear and beautiful brothers and sisters, but we knew that to remain among them would not have been the best of what the Lord had in store for our family. 

After our departure, we had more weeks and months—many months—of our living room “family church” times.  We placed ads in a local town paper trying to connect with other believers who may be interested in a home church experience.  From the ads there was one family who came to our home and began to meet with us.  We didn’t know what we were doing, but we both wanted the same thing.  So we met together, shared food and song, and talked.  But the Lord did not mean for that too last too long either or to be a strong attachment for us since this family lived in our town only for a very short time and they ended up moving to another city far from us.  So here we were again, alone. 

I continued researching the home church concept and trying to connect with other like-minded believers over the internet.  No matter how hard the loneliness became, or the desire to be with other believers, or how loud a tempting voice spoke enticing us that maybe we’d be better of going back to the institutional church and back to what for us would have been a “return to Egypt”, we continued to do one of the hardest things for man to do.  We WAITED on God.  We waited when we didn’t feel like waiting any more.  We waited when we were downright sick of waiting and wanted to rebel against the waiting.

Waiting on God can be quite a difficult thing, especially when you have a vision for something and such a fervent desire that it is like you can just reach out and grab it, but at the same time it is so far out of reach.  In my imagination I could see, taste, and almost feel the experience of what the spirit within me longed for.  But yet, it wasn’t possible to have it physically.  Things were getting pretty desperate for the whole family.  Our daughter was really struggling, not understanding this waiting on God and that He wanted us to continue to wait and not return to the institutional church.  Michael and I would keep checking in with the Lord often to see if maybe we should try putting the ads in the paper again, but a long time passed before the Lord gave us the go ahead to try that once more. 

One of the greatest things that God accomplished during our times of “loneliness” was allowing us to discover and enjoy a more satisfying and intimate relationship with Him.  What the human flesh can deem as loneliness is the platform for our spirit to know the fullness and satisfaction of an intimate relationship with God.  He used the time to strip us of things that desperately needed to be stripped away, and replaced them with a better understanding of Him, His ways, and His character.  I say another “WOW!” with regards to that work.

During those times, He also brought me to the death of my “Fears of Man and Rejection”.  Oh!  What a GRAND freedom from a terrible bondage has that been for me.  HALLELUJAH!  It has only been by facing those fears head on and experiencing God’s unending, boundless, and faithful grace and love in the midst of such events that He has been able to accomplish such a thing in me.  Does it still hurt to be rejected?  Of course it hurts my heart; I am a sensitive person.  But there is no fear that keeps me from doing or speaking as the Lord leads me to do because someone may attack or reject me.  Those fears no longer control who I am and do not cause me to hold back when I should go forward.  I have faced the fears and the many times broken heart head on and I have SURVIVED and grown STRONGER!  My victory is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today, I am more concerned with needlessly hurting others instead of being hurt myself.

So three years after our exodus from the institutional church, we put out another ad about home church with a link to our website.  We had revamped our Discovering God Ministries website to include lots of information about the organic home church concept that people could read if they were interested.  All of a sudden God began to move things; and to move them very quickly.  What happened first after this set of published ads was that a Christian brother in our small town contacted us to let us know that he was part of a home church and proceeded to tell us about this fellowship.  We were delighted to hear such good news.  We began visiting with this fellowship to see if this was what the Lord ultimately had for us after all our waiting.  These brothers and sisters were another group of lovely people.  We shared songs, prayers, Scriptures, insights, and the Lord with them for a few weeks, enjoying their fellowship very much.

At the same time, I also received an email from Milt Rodriguez on behalf of the House Church Resource website stating that he was coming to our city for a home church conference.  He was contacting all the people who had filled an interest form on the website in regards to organic home church, and he was organizing a gathering of those people at one location, for one whole weekend, to offer help and wisdom in how to have organic home church.  Michael and I attended that weekend conference.  A group of about 30 people gathered together and met each other for the first time.  We told bits and pieces of our “church experiences” and our searching and longing for organic home church fellowship.  Milt offered us ideas on how to get started, some pitfalls to avoid, and encouraged us to go forward.  He went home at the end of that weekend, and we formed two groups based on our geographical locations.  On that Sunday afternoon in September began what I, at this moment, believe is where the Lord is deeply planting our family. 

An organic home church was born that September.  The type of church I have desired, dreamed about, and waited so long for is right here before my eyes.  We have been meeting on a weekly basis since that time.  We have spent the weeks getting to know each other and building relationships with each other.  We have told our life stories together, eaten together, played games together, had some tears together, sang together, prayed together, gone caroling together, questioned things together, discussed the future together, and on and on.  Has it all been perfect and without some difficult relational moments?  No.  We have also faced some difficulties together.  There are even those that began with us but have not remained with us.  The Lord has other adventures somewhere else for them.  In spite of any difficulties that have arisen, I am content and anticipating the Lord to do great and wondrous things, for I am not looking for “perfect”.  While we live in these earthen vessels, these imperfect earthly bodies and personalities which we all posses, there will be no such thing as a “perfect church body”.  But as we keep our eyes on the ONE Who is perfect, and as we are committed to allowing Him to do HIS work within us instead of having our own ways, it will prove to be a MAGNIFICENT experience!  It already has.  Instead of perfect, I believe that I have found a body of Christian brothers and sisters committed to loving and supporting each other as Christ loves us because Christ lives in us and among us.  As we come together and share Christ together, we will get the absolute joy of seeing God more clearly day by day.  We have only just begun and there is long path ahead to walk through.  But I am filled with excited anticipation of how God is going to reveal Himself, and what He is going to do all along that path.

As in all things in my life, may it all be for HIS glory!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shuang Shuying Has Been Released!!

I received an email from Voice of the Martyrs today saying:

"Update on Shuang Shuying

Praise God! On Feb. 8 Shuang Shuying was released from prison and immediately went to see her deathly ill husband in the hospital. Shuying wrote a letter thanking you for praying and supporting her. The letter also revealed that she was tortured in prison. Shuying was strengthened by the prayers and help of believers like you. We encourage you to continue writing letters to believers who remain in prison. Forward this e-mail to those you know have a heart for God's people imprisoned for their faith and encourage them to pray and write too. Get involved! Pray and write today.

Since our last communication with you, the PrisonerAlert for Shuang Shuying has been viewed over 18900 times, and over 8200 letters of encouragement have been sent. What a blessing this must have been to Shuang Shuying -- and what a message it will have sent to the officials, that this person is cared for internationally."

You can also go to for more info about Shuang Shuying and other Christian brothers and sisters who have been incarcerated or tortured merely for their faith in Christ.