Sharing the Good News

Yesterday at the doc clinic, I noticed there are stacks of books on the side tables near the sofa. One book caught my eye: Conversational Evangelism. I discovered that the doctor put her personal collection of Christian books for her patients to read while waiting.

I told hubby I should have given my book to doc last year. He said: Di kuiy thao si le siuh d eh tseh. (You think about your book all the time.) Last year, when I published my book, I gave each of our family doctors a copy. I missed giving to this one. So I sent our driver home to get 2 copies – 1 for the doc and 1 for her secretary.

Yes, I might seem to be thinking about my book a lot. I see it as a means to share the gospel to people I do not know. The Holy Spirit guides me and opens my eyes to opportunity to do this. On my recent trip to Myanmar, I brought 2 copies of my book along planning to give to 2 traveling companions. I gave 1 to the sister of my college friend who was also my roommate. I thought to give the other copy to the other friend after our trip ends. In the middle of our trip, I got this inspiration: Why don’t I give it to our tour guide instead? He was our first guide – who told us the story about praying in the Golden Pagoda and he said ‘Coincidentally’ the pray-er got his prayer answered. When I asked him does he pray, he said he’s a buddhist but he’s not religious so he does not pray a lot.

We had 4 guides in our trip. Of the 4, i thought to give this one because his English seemed to be the best and he was with us the longest. He started and ended the tour with us. So on the last day, as he was checking us in the airport hotel, I approached him to ask: Do you read English books? He smilingly answered:Yes, I read English books when I teach English to my students. I used the dictionary when there are words I don’t understand. (Yes! I excitedly said to myself.) Then I asked: Would u like to read my book? I wrote a book. He courteously said yes. So I gave the book to him. When he turned it over, he saw my pic and said, it’s you.. (or something like that.) I laughed and said, yes, it’s me. He thought I was joking. 🙂

I said you will know me if you read my book. And learn English too. ;P He told me that he teaches English as a volunteer at the monastery where he learned English as a young man. The skill he has enabled him to get a job as a tour guide – which I’m sure is higher than most workers in the country. I believe as a means of paying back, he volunteered to teach English to the younger generation. For 3 months, the 16 year old youth learned English at the monastery after they graduated from their high school. There are 3 levels – 1,2,3.  I said you can let your students read my book too. It’s level 4. 😀 He said I will put your book in the library of the monastery.

See… amazing! God provided a way for me to export my book to a buddhist country to be placed in a monastery.

The whole point of my story is not about my book. I shared this story because I want to share the important lesson I learned. The Holy Spirit guides us to see the opportunities in front of us each moment of each day. God grants us grace to be sensitive to these small windows of opportunities to share the good news to the people He brings to us. You might not have a book, but you can share a kind word, a warm tap on the shoulder, a handshake, a smile and even your silent presence to people in grief. It’s more than conversational evangelism. It’s lifestyle evangelism. It’s friendship evangelism.

When i started the trip, I felt a bit guilty going to a buddhist country for leisure while my Christian friends went for mission trips. I realised that God can turn all things to work out for his purpose – to those who love him and are called to his purpose. My love for God is not perfect but his purpose for me is perfect and good. I thank God for the opportunity to share my life with the people he brings to me so that they too will know the good news!

Motivating-Life-Quotes-About-Life-Is-Not-About-Making-Others

Advertisements

The Walking Bible

Yesterday, my aero classmate and I had snack after class. I was so hungry after the 2-hour workout at the gym and dance floor. I finished a big bowl of wanton noodles after eating 1/8 cup of colored rice for brunch before the workout.😜 You might wonder what this has to do with evangelism and authentic Christian living.

My aero classmate is a buddhist. When I first became the editor of UECP Herald, our church magazine, I offered a copy to this classmate. She turned me down saying she’s not interested. Napahiya ako. (I was embarrassed.) 😂😅 Last year when I published my book, I had 2nd thoughts on giving her a copy. So yesterday, when we went out for a meal, I asked her if she wants to read my book. She said is it about “Christiantiy?” (基督教)I answered it’s about my life. She said yes, she would like to read it. I did some sales talk coz I know she’s more into Chinese reading and she’s perhaps 8-9 years older than I am. I said I wrote it in mixed English and Chinese. (even though Chinese words are few. 😁)

I have been attending this aero class for years. I go to class to dance and I leave right after. I am not one to mingle and chat with my classmates. Out of all my classmates, this lady is one with whom I befriend well enough to know her name and visit her house to pray with her before she had a major surgery. In 2016, when my mom was very sick and I was worried for her, I had the chance to have lunch with this friend. I shared my mom’s testimony with her. She was so touched she cried. It was about the same time that she was scheduled for a surgery and she’s a bit worried about it. So after lunch, she invited me to her house. I asked her “Do u want me to pray with you?” Guess what her answer was? “Yes.” She asked “What do I do?’ I said you can close your eyes and pray/listen to what I pray. Then we sort of lost touch coz she had her surgery and missed classes coz it took awhile for her to recover. And my parents passed away in the months that follow.

So now it is almost 2 years since our last meal. Yesterday she wanted to pay me back for the meal i treated her then. This was the context of my belief on lifestyle evangelism.

I know it might be hard to believe that I am basically an introvert person. I share my life on FB and social media perhaps a bit more than what an introvert would do. When I was young (perhaps during my college days), I joined the EE (Evangelism Explosion) experience. I went out with 2 other church friends as a team of 3, to knock on doors to ask permission to share the gospel the EE way. I was glad I had my 2 older Christian brothers to accompany me. It was not easy. I felt uncomfortable sharing the gospel with strangers I did not know. Today, I still feel the same. I am not one to chat with seat mate on the plane to share the good news of Jesus. But when I was having radiation treatment at the cancer centre, I found courage to show concern and pray with a young lady with a big tumour on her forehead. I learned this idea from a cancer survivor acquaintance: how he did the same during his chemo sessions. He asked co-patients if they would like him to pray for them one-on-one. He shared that none had ever turned him down.

I realised that indeed sharing the good news of Jesus is about making good use of God-given opportunities with God-given wisdom and courage. The Holy Spirit helps us to witness for Jesus and share the good news by living an authentic Christian life – one that others would want to know more about. It is not a smooth life of pure sunshine and a bed of roses. It is about living victoriously in difficult times. It is being vulnerable and transparent enough to share the shadows and the valleys – and how Christ enables us to overcome these challenges and see the light in the darkness.

Dear friends, be encouraged to be bold to share the good news of Jesus. It is possible by God’s amazing grace. Find courage to be the walking Bible that others read.

John-MacArthur-Quote-The-Bible-to-Unbelievers

My Journey with the Big C – Growing in Faith

9d3e1773d45ce09f036f151b97505a50.jpg

 

When my mammography results showed suspicious cancer cells, my doctor was quite positive and encouraged me, saying, “Everything’s going to be fine. Nothing to worry about.”

When the biopsy results came back, his words taught me a lesson. For while it is good to look forward in hope, it is practical to accept what is with faith. The dual lens of faith is to take both the good and the bad from the hand of God.

For faith is not about who I am, but who God is—full of grace and mercy. It is not about me worrying less and trusting God more, but about experiencing and knowing God’s character more in the challenges of life. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6).

A friend used to encourage me that living life is putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. The Israelites had to step onto the Red Sea after the water parted. Then they had to step into the waters of the Jordan before the waters parted. As children of God, we need to step out in faith because we know that God is leading us—in fire by night and in cloud by day.

As I came to know God more through my experience with cancer, I was able to tell others who were sick and suffering about God’s amazing grace and faithfulness to me. Thus suffering opened the door for me to learn to love God and my neighbor more.

Friends with cancer, or those with loved ones fighting cancer, began to come to me with questions about treatment and which doctors to consult. I prayed for these friends, just as many prayer warriors prayed for me.

From the shy child that I used to be, I found courage to ask a young woman at the cancer center with a big tumor on her forehead if I could pray with her. Without a second thought, she said, “Yes.” I learned this practice from a cancer survivor friend of a friend. He said that each time he went for his chemotherapy, he asked a fellow patient if he would like to pray with him. In his entire treatment journey, nobody ever said “no.”

Like Paul, I knew that through my journey with cancer, I could share in the gospel’s blessings: “to the weak I became weak. . . that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

In each incident of suffering that I experienced, I have become bolder to share the good news to the people around me I have relationship with – my therapist, caregivers and even my masseuse. As they provide their services to me, I use the time to ask them about their lives, family, struggles, and joys. As I listen, I share the good news God has for them.

For all who love God are called to do his good purpose on earth, and that purpose is to make him known to all people. Through us, others will see and experience the presence, peace, provision, guidance, grace, and great mercy of our God.

Dear Lord, thank you for your presence in my sufferings. May I learn to trust you more because you are trustworthy. Let me be a channel of your blessings as I grow in faith and share my faith with those who are suffering. Amen.

My journey with the big C – Part 1

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17–18

6fc52b4729ca2720d439ee0062327be6--spiritual-inspiration-quotes-spiritual-quotes

In 2009, when I was forty-seven, I was diagnosed with Stage O, ductal carcinoma in situ. My journey with cancer is a milestone in my life on the journey with the God of grace. My treatment included a lumpectomy to remove a portion of my left breast, as well as thirty-four sessions of radiation therapy, and cancer maintenance medications that I continued to take (with all their side-effects and possible consequences) for seven years.

When I began going through radiation treatment, God’s Word nourished and sustained me. As I read God’s word each day, I experienced his presence and power strengthening me, and I rejoiced in his amazing grace. My prayer was, Lord, if you think my life has achieved the purpose you planned for me, then I am at peace with that. But if my mission is not yet complete, then show the way that I will continue to live according to your purpose. In the meantime, I want to make my life useful for your glory—to help my neighbors go through their challenges and any people you bring to me.”

All through my journey with cancer, I felt God’s warm embrace around me—a comfort beyond words and an immovable standing stone. As I got to know God more deeply by talking to him, listening to him, and discovering his character through the Bible, I experienced his peace beyond understanding and felt his assurance that I could live each day in joy and gratitude.

Psalm 1 says that blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. And the promise is that he will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he will prosper.

Bearing fruit in season does not mean that my life will always be smooth and rosy, but that I can persevere and stand firm in God’s promises that all things—the good and the bad—will work for my good, because he loves me and is calling me according to his purpose.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your word and promise that in all things—even in suffering—you are calling me for your purpose. Help me to delight in your word and meditate on it so that I will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Amen.


 

Nothing is for nothing…

Do you believe everything in life happens for a reason? I do. But it’s not fatalism. It’s about faith. Fatalism is like the song ‘What will be will be.’ It is accepting destiny and there’s nothing we can do about it. Faith is about trusting God who loves and holds me in the palm of His hands. Faith is believing that my destiny is to live my life for His glory.

purpose

For this reason, I truly believe that everything in my life happens for a reason… whether the good or the bad. The good happens for me to remember that all good things come from God, and for me to be grateful and be content. The good happens because Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

How about the bad? I believe that God allows bad things to happen. He is not the source of evil. He is good. I also believe that He loves me even when I do bad things and fail him. He allows me to make mistakes because He gives me the gift of choice. I am not a robot. I make decisions but I am accountable for the choices I make. When I make bad decisions, He forgives me when I confess and ask for forgiveness. But I am not spared from the consequences of bad choices. Still I believe that these seemingly bad things happen for my good… for me to learn from my mistakes, for me to know more of His character and for me to know more about myself, about people and about life.

What about the bad things that have nothing to do with my sins? Well, I believe that this broken world is full of evil. Reality in life is that we live in a broken body – subject to sickness and health issues. We live in a broken world subject to broken relationships.. broken relationships because of bad choices. Even so, for the children of God, these bad things happen for a reason – the same reason as God’s purpose for each of His children – to bring forth His glory.

Children of God are not exempted from sufferings. They are like all other non-believers. What makes them different is how they respond to sufferings. And this is not complacent acceptance or 无可耐何 or fatalism. It is not an attitude of ‘what will be will be… nothing I can do about it.’ It is a decision to overcome the bad, the sufferings with an attitude of joy and hope. It is not masochism – enjoying to suffer. It is not denial of grief or sadness. When I suffer, I acknowledge that it is difficult, I am sad, I groan and grieve.

temp

But I firmly believe that suffering comes to an end – there is light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know how long the tunnel might be – perhaps short when it ends before Jesus comes or I might not even see the end of it when He returns before it ends. But I know that suffering allows me to depend fully on God and for me to experience more fully and truly His love and amazing grace. Suffering makes me empathise with those who are going through the same journey. Suffering lets me learn valuable lessons I would not have learned when everything is well. Finally I believe that suffering allows me to comfort other people who are going through what I went through before. No suffering is alike – I cannot say that I fully know what the friend is going through… I can only imagine. But along the road of suffering, the way is easier when there is someone walking alongside.

Paul teaches a lesson on one good thing about suffering that I fully attest and believe in:
2 Corinthians 1
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

attitude

I know everything in my life happens for a reason because God allows it to happen for his glory. I realised that bad things happen for my good when I look at them from God’s perspective – for me to learn lessons – lessons of knowing and experiencing God, lessons of patience, endurance, perseverance, lessons of courage and compassion, lessons of helping others – to be a comfort with the comfort that I receive.

How about you, friend? Is life hard for you? Are you suffering right now? Take heart if you are a Christian…

rom 8.28

Romans 8:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

And if you are not yet a Christian, why don’t you turn to Jesus and let Him turn your life around – then you will know and experience how it is for everything in your life happening for a reason – a reason that is here and now – the Reason that is good for all times. Know Jesus – the Reason for the season and the Reason for all seasons of life.

The One

The choice…

Have you answered online personality tests or health-related apps where you are asked to choose from several options for each question? Is it not frustrating sometimes to read through the list and realize that your answer is all of the above or worse… none of the above?

0*wgvJNopgzNNDasyj.jpg

So my question for the day is.. which is better… to have many choices or to have no choice?

Most of my life, I enjoyed the blessing of one.. one mom, one dad, one sister, one boyfriend until he became my hubby. I am the one and only daughter-in-law, the one and only sister-in-law, the only a-kim (the wife of your mom’s brother), and the only a-ee (the sister of your mother). For someone basically an introvert, this is good – life is simple. From childhood through my teen years, I went to one school. I attended one church: United Evangelical Church of the Phils. When I graduated from high school, I applied at only one university. Imagine if my application was not accepted…

All of the above seem to imply that I had no choice or that I was simply born into it – family, school and church. But as I grow older, life is not as simple. Everyday, I am confronted with choices… decisions to make, even as mundane or trivial as which route to take to go certain places. And I often wish I had less choices or if only God would just point to me the best option to ensure that I make the right one.

The paradox of God-given freedom for man to choose is that man is given the wisdom as a rational being to discern what is right and what is wrong. But what is right and what is not has become relative in this world tainted by sin. There is also the issue of good or better, bad or worse.

So my conclusion to my rhetorical question is this: what about The One choice?

I choose to ask God for wisdom and discernment – that through the Holy Spirit I will be enabled to make the right choices that will be pleasing to Him – that will accomplish the purposes to which He calls me.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer, my first thought in prayer was: Lord, if you think that my life on earth has served your purpose, then I am at peace with that. But if there is anything else that you want me to do, let your will be done as well.

So each day, each moment, as long as I remember that my life has a purpose, I have a choice to make to obey His command:

luke 10-27

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

That is The Choice – the blessing of One for me.

Praying with a purpose

Nehemiah 1-2

Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king. He was in exile serving a foreign king. Nehemiah and many of his countrymen were carried away from their homeland into captivity in Persia.  He learned that his countrymen back home were in distress and their land in ruins – their city walls broken and gates burned! Neh. 1:3 What a pitiful situation!

After mourning for several days, Nehemiah prayed to God:
1) Behind his prayers, he had God’s purpose 2:12: I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do.

2) How did he pray: He acknowledged God’s character (1:5), he asked God to listen to his prayer (v.6,11). Twice, he said ‘I beseech you’ I beg you, O God, may your ear be attentive. Please Lord, pay attention to my request. He confessed their sins – the wrongs his people did- offending God. v.6-7 Then he asked God to remember His promise to them and how He helped them in the past. v.8-10

3) What did he pray for? v.11 He prayed that God would grant him favor before the king. That the king would have compassion on him and grant his request. What were his requests?
A) Purpose: He told the king he wanted to go home to rebuild his birthplace. (2:5)

B) Protection: He asked that the king provide him safe passage. (2:7)

C) Provision: Nehemiah also asked the king to give him materials for the rebuilding project. v.8a

He acknowledged that the king granted his requests because God answered his prayers. v.8b

Truths to learn:
When I seek after God’s purpose, God surely provides.
When He gives me a task, He enables.

What is my first instinct when there is a crisis to face or problem to solve? Do I squeeze my brain juice for the solutions? Do I call a friend? Ask an expert? Before I go around asking people for help, do I ask God first?

Nehemiah went to ‘beseech’ God. He did not tell anyone about what God wanted him to do. 2:12 He was alone yet not alone because God was behind him. In prayer, I acknowledge God’s character. I confess my shortcomings and declare my dependence on Him. I pray that God listen and grant me favor to achieve His purpose. Surely, He listens.

nehemiah 2.jpg