How are you? I’m well.
Do you know that our God is a jealous God? (For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14)
While I have been taking Sister Margaret Seaward’s classes via zoom, I heard her share her testimony on her hobby a few times. When she was young, she had a hobby. Then, the Lord told her not to have that hobby. Being very upset, she said to the Lord and talked about a Christian lady, “But, Lord, xxx has many hobbies. Why can’t I have one?” Then, He said to her, “Her hobbies are not number one to her, but to you, it’s your number one.” He said she went overboard on it and He didn’t want that. When I first heard her testimony, I really didn’t have any hobby that would take place of number one. But in the middle of this July, I started to make dolls and I really loved it. I made dolls, by purchasing DIY packages that includes patterns, fabrics and instructions. And my mind was full of making dolls, dolls’ clothes and so on, using my own fabrics and having some variations to the patterns and designs I got to learn from the packages. And I bought many books, fabrics, buttons and so forth and I even made a dolls' sofa. And each time I completed making a doll, I was so glad and took pictures to share with my sister. Yet I tried to put some limitations on my time on the hobby so that I tried to make 1 or 2 dolls per week and spend 2~3 days per week. But the problem was even when I was not making dolls, my mind was completely on it. I was thinking of what DIY package I would order next time, looking at a vendor’s blog and what clothes I would make with my own fabrics. And even when I prayed and worshiped in tongues, I found my thought was on making dolls, not on the Lord nor on those I prayed for. And many times when I thought of making dolls, I was reminded of Sister Margaret’s testimony on the hobby. I thought to myself, “Am I being so distracted while this is the moment that the Bride should be watchful?” But I kept resisting the thought and I justified my desire to make dolls, thinking He implanted the gift of crafting in me, and Jesus and I have something in common, including handcrafting. I actually received a personal prophecy back in Singapore that I am gifted with handcrafts and so on and I may give others ideas on them or I myself would do some handcraft works in a new season. So, I tried to justify my hobby. In addition, while I was making dolls, I listened to Sister Margaret’s classes in YouTube that I missed earlier and Pastor John Fenn’s audio teachings. In so doing, I also tried to justify my spending time on the new hobby, thinking I listen to the Words, too. Then, recently when I read a Pastor John Fenn’s book, Roadmap for Spiritual Growth, he wrote about lusts:
“These are not just purely sexual, but lusts defined as desires that are out of control or try to dominate our lives. Those can be food, sex, companionship, some hobby or whatever that desire might be that is out of balance.”
My heart was heavy after reading this, as I felt in a sense that I was out of balance since I started to make dolls. Then, one night in a dream, I saw a frog figure in a sewing machine. When I awoke, I was reminded of a Sister Margaret’s teaching where she said a frog represents an unclean spirit. Yet I thought to myself, “The dream wouldn’t be from the Lord. I can’t make a sense of the whole dream.” Then, last night, I woke up in the middle of the sleep, to go to the restroom. In the restroom, a song just came into my heart and I sang in my mind, “Don’t look away, My child!” I knew the song. It was part of spontaneous worship songs that Pastor John’s son, Brian sang. I sometimes listen to his worship music in the Church Without Walls International website. I knew from a Pastor John's teaching that Brian, his son sometimes sang back to the people the songs from the Lord during the worship. And I knew the song that I sang being half-awake was from the Lord, not from me. So in a few hours when I woke up in the morning, I thought to myself, “From exactly what, does the Lord want me to turn my focus? Would it be my hobby or something else?” On one side of my heart, I’ve been thinking, “Could it be the devil’s scheme that these little foxes spoil the vine? (Song of Solomon 2:15)” being reminded of Sister Margaret’s teaching. But on the other side of my heart, I’ve resisted the thought, saying it can be legalism. Then, I attended the Song of Solomon class of Sister Margaret, and I said to myself, “If the Lord wants me to stop that hobby, He will let me know through her teaching or others, today!” I haven’t asked the Lord directly, while I have been trying to be conversational with Him. I was simply afraid of hearing Him say “Stop that hobby!” just in case.
To my utter amazement, just a few minutes before the class ended, Sister Margaret shared her testimony on the hobby again. I knew it was the Lord’s speaking to me. Though I was in awe, I felt sad in a sense. Then, I did get to realize it had been an idol, as I felt so sad. But now I’m glad and thankful, as He wants me to be His pure Bride. He’s been jealous for me. I’m not saying every hobby is an idol. Just like Pastor John Fenn wrote, whether it’s food, sex, companionship, hobby, or whatever that desire might be, we can live in lusts. And anybody or anything can be an idol. I tried to limit my time on the hobby, yet my heart was out of balance over the 6 weeks or so. When I posted a blog, Waste, a few weeks back, I talked about wasting everything for Him, but in reality, I didn’t live up to my words, Friend.
Later that afternoon, I expected another DIY package of dolls I had ordered to arrive, but I chose not to make dolls any more, until He would allow me to do. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I wanted to obey Him as soon as I was confirmed by Sister Margaret’s testimony. While I was writing this, I heard in YouTube Pastor Joe Sweet saying “Consecration, the singleness of our heart is more important than speaking in tongues.” What a timely word! I choose to be consecrated and set apart for Him. I wouldn’t let the little foxes spoil the vine.
Friend, I don’t know whether it spoke to you. You might say, “Hobby is just small things. Why can't you even do that?” But no matter how small and how little it may seem, it could ruin the relationship with the Lord. And I share what Pastor David Guzik wrote in his commentary in EnduringWord on Song of Solomon 2:15:
iii. Hudson Taylor thought of the “little foxes” that may ruin our relationship with Jesus Christ. “The enemies may be small, but the mischief done great… And how numerous the little foxes are! Little compromises with the world; disobedience to the still small voice in little things; little indulgences of the flesh to the neglect of duty; little strokes of policy; doing evil in little things that good may come; and the beauty, and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed!”
And Sister Margaret Seaward also said, “Little foxes are little things, little sins, little discrepancies, little dangers, little things left unattended to. Things seem too small to do much harm but the effect is spiritually disastrous.”
Friend, our God, the Father gave His only begotten Son, as He loved us so much. And Jesus died for us, having all the pains and humiliation. Actually, the thing I gave up for Him yesterday was just nothing, compared with His love and sacrifice for me. Friend, it’s my desire and prayer that we don’t neglect His still small voice and we choose to love Him, consecrate ourselves and be His pure Bride.
PS) With regard to my writing, I don’t think He would stop me, as I don’t go overboard on it. :)
Have a bliss!
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
How are you? I’m well.
Today, I would like to share part of Watchman Nee’s book, Sit, Walk, Stand.
He wrote key words in the book of Ephesians as below.
In the previous weeks, I shared God, the Father made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6). So, we already have open heaven in us. Watchman Nee wrote on our walk:
Though the Christian life begins with sitting, sitting is always followed by walking. When once we have been well and truly seated and have found our strength in sitting down, then we do in fact begin to walk. Sitting describes our position with Christ in the heavenlies. Walking is the practical outworking of that heavenly position here on earth. As a heavenly people, we are required to bear the stamp of that heavenliness upon us in our earthly conduct,…
Now, here in chapter 4, it is in view of such fellowship that we find this matter of a holy walk arises. Paul proceeds, in the light of our heavenly calling, to challenge us upon the whole field of our relationships, both domestic and public, addressing himself to neighbors, to husbands and wives, to parents and children, employers and employed, all in a most realistic way. Let us be clear that the body of Christ is not something remote and unreal, to be expressed only in heavenly terms. It is very present and practical, finding the real test of our conduct in our relations with others. For while it is true we are a heavenly people, it is no use just to talk of a distant heaven. Unless we bring heavenliness into our dwellings and offices, our shops and kitchens, and practice it there, it will be without meaning.
And I found it interesting that Paul also wrote this truth to the saints in Colosse. In the book of Colossians, he wrote in chapter 2 verse 10, “and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” And he went on to say it’s not about legalism, but Christ and it’s not carnality, but Christ. Then, he wrote in chapter 3 verse 12~17 on character of the new man:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
After that, he wrote about the Christian Home, i.e. the relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between masters and bondservants.
I like Watchman Nee’s writings as well as Paul’s. I realize we should be down to earth and humble, just as Jesus is. Our heavenly Father wants us to carry His presence in our home, our workplace and our communities. We don’t have to be so called clergy or to go to short term or long term missions, in order to be in His will. It’s a great thing to evangelize in somewhere else and preach and teach the gospel. But, we first walk in love and carry His presence and show His character in our daily menial work and in our daily relationship. I heard a story that an elder of a church who owns a business and gives a lot of offerings to church didn’t pay for some money to his Christian employee. What’s the point of bringing much money to church, while he didn’t treat his fellow believer justly? I liked a pastor’s teaching who said, “You cannot bring much money to church, while you don’t honor your parents by giving them money.” And what’s the point of preaching the gospel somewhere else, while you don’t forgive your family in your own home? He is love. Friend, it’s my prayer that we, as a heavenly citizen, walk in love. We love our parents, spouse, children. We love our coworkers and subordinates and honor our boss. We love our neighbors like ourselves. We already sit in the heavenly places with all the spiritual blessings. The Father has given us what we need, to walk in love. We obey the Lord who dwells in us.
Have a bliss!
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8~10)
How are you? I’m well.
In a Richard Foster’s book, Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christ, he suggested a few contemplative ways we can experience as part of our daily routine and I would like to share one of them:
Third, undermine that perennial, everlasting human itch to get ahead with intentional times of “holy leisure.” Take a nap. Spend an hour visiting with your neighbor about nothing important. Help each other watch the sun go down. Take a walk, not for exercise or to study plant life but for the sheer joy of walking. Stop praying for a day. Listen to the birds — not to get some “message” from them but to hear them. Sit in the silence, doing nothing, having nothing, needing nothing. Take a bath instead of a shower. Waste time for God. The ideas are endless.
When I read the words, “Waste time for God,” I couldn’t agree with him more. Although I didn’t spent long hours in worshipping the Lord recently, one day when I worshiped Him, singing praises, I felt that it’s kind of holy waste of my time. Nobody sees me but the Lord, and I don’t do anything so called “productive.” Yet I thought that my Heavenly Father would enjoy my worshiping Him.
Watchman Nee wrote about “waste” in the last chapter, The Goal of the Gospel of his book, The Normal Christian Life. And he wrote about the story of Mary, who anointed Jesus with the costly oil. And he wrote that not only Judas but other disciples thought it a waste:
But I do not want to dwell too much on Judas. Let us go on to see what was the attitude of the other disciples, because their reaction affects us even more than does his. We do not greatly mind what the world is saying; we can stand that, but we do very much mind what other Christians are saying who ought to understand. And yet we find that they said the same thing as Judas; and they not only said it but they were very upset, very indignant about it.
I have spoken already of a sister whom I knew for a long time and who, I think, is the one by whom I have been helped most. She was used of the Lord in a very real way during those years when I was associated with her, though to some of us at the time this was not so apparent. The one concern in my heart was this:
“She is not used!” Constantly I said to myself, “Why does she not get out and take some meetings, go somewhere, do something? It is a waste for her to be living in that small village with nothing happening!” Sometimes, when I went to see her, I almost shouted at her. I said, “No one knows the Lord as you do. You know the Book in a most living way. Do you not see the need around? Why don’t you do something? It is a waste of time, a waste of energy, a waste of money, a waste of everything, just sitting here and doing nothing!” But no, brethren, that is not the first thing with the Lord. He wants you and me to be used, certainly. God forbid that I should preach inactivity, or seek to justify a complacent attitude to the world’s need. As Jesus Himself says here, “the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world.” But the question is one of emphasis. Looking back today, I realize how greatly the Lord was in fact using that dear sister to speak to a member of us who, as young men, were at that time in his training school for this very work of the Gospel. I cannot thank God enough for her and for the influence of her life upon me. What, then, is the secret? Clearly it is this, that in approving Mary’s action at Bethany, the Lord Jesus was laying down one things a basis of all service: that you pour out all you have, your very self, unto him; and if that should be all he allows you to do, that is enough. It is not first of all a question of whether “the poor” have been helped or not. That will follow, but the first question is: Has the Lord been satisfied?
Then he went on to write about ministering to His pleasure and he wrote about fragrance:
Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered - someone who has gone through experiences with the Lord that have brought limitation, and who, instead of trying to break free in order to be “used,” has been willing to be imprisoned by him and has thus learned to find satisfaction in the Lord and nowhere else - then immediately you become aware of something. Immediately your spiritual senses detect a sweet savor of Christ. Something has been crushed, something has been broken in that life, and so you smell the odor. …
Oh, to be wasted! It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord. So many who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this. Many of us have been used to the full - have been used, I would say, too much - but we do not know what it means to be “wasted on God.” We like to be always “on the go”: the Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison. We think in terms of apostolic journey: God dares to put his greatest ambassadors in chains.
Then, he wrote in the last page of the chapter a few verses and one of them was from 2 Corinthians 2:14:
“But thanks be unto God, which always leadeth us in triumph in Christ, and taketh manifest through us the savor of his knowledge in every place.”
When I read it, I was almost moved into tears, as the very next verse, 2 Corinthians 2:15 was the verse I received from Irene Wong, an artist, when she gave me a prophetic painting with His words back in 2016. Actually it was the verse I had taken to my heart:
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
After I finished reading the last chapter and the book, too, I opened up my Bible to read these verses in 2 Corinthians. Then, I realized that we are the fragrance of Christ, to God, not to people. Just like Watchman Nee wrote, our question must be “Has the Lord been satisfied?” And I also thank the Lord, as He granted me a blessed season of imprisonment rather than being used by Him.
Do you like to minister to God? Though it seems a waste of your time, your resources and so on, do you like to pour out all that you have and all that you are unto Him? I looked up the verses on Martha and Mary, after I read the book, The Normal Christian Life. I think Mary was able to break the alabaster jar of the costly oil, as she chose to look upon Jesus at His feet:
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41~42)
We may seem to go against the grain, even to Christians, if we would choose to waste for God. Some Christian friends may say, “Why don’t you study in seminary?” or “Why don’t you go to a big ministry?” or “ Why don’t you publish your book?” just like Watchman Nee said to the sister. Also, like he said, I’m not saying we should close our eyes to the needs of others. But I’m trying to say that many of us think and act like Martha. And we tend to think God needs our help. Never! He can do anything without our help, if He wants to. He is Almighty God. He wants us to minister to Him and love Him with all our hearts. He has His own desire! If you are a parent of a little baby, you would never think it a waste of your time to tickle your baby’s little toes and kiss the little feet. If you’re in love with someone, you would simply enjoy sitting next to him or her, even without a word. But, you would never think it’s a waste of your time. Friend, what would you choose? For me, I choose to waste everything for God and let Him be satisfied.
Have a bliss!
And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
How are you? Hope you had or are having a good day, today?
One morning in July, I woke up maybe after 5:30am or so way before my alarm was supposed to ring. While still lingering on my bed, I hummed a Korean worship song in my heart, “Christ in me.” It just came to my mind so that I sang the song in my heart. Then, I tried to play out a piano instrument music in a channel I subscribe in YouTube, in order to linger a bit longer on the bed. When I opened the app, I was surprised to see the channel post the very song, “Christ in me.” The channel owner uploads a music daily and that song was posted overnight. Then, in a day or two, I woke up again earlier than my alarm was supposed to ring. I sat on the sofa in the living room and worshiped the Lord. I was reminded of Pastor John Fenn’s teaching on prayer and worship so that I tried to take some time to be silent, after reading Psalms, singing praises and praying in tongue. After some moments of silence, I prayed and sang in tongue. Then, suddenly, I sang the song, “Amazing love, how can it be…” I never intended to sing that song and it’s been a while that I listened to or sang the song. But the song just came out of my mouth, while I was singing in tongue. As I don’t remember the whole lyrics, I googled the song. To my amazement, the lyrics said, “I’m alive and well. Your Spirit is within me, because You died and rose again.” So, I felt that the Lord confirms the Words, “Christ in me” I’ve been meditating on. Later on July 25th, when I had a monthly zoom meeting with my pastor in Singapore and others, He again confirmed it through a few brothers’ messages.
One night on my bed, I closed my eyes to sleep and said to the Father, “Father, thank You, as You’re in me. I have nothing to fear.” As I said that and realized the truth, His peace overwhelmed me. Indeed I have nothing and none to fear, as Christ is in me. Like Ephesians 2 said, I was made alive together with Him, was raised up with Him and was made sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I have peace with God and I have His wisdom. All I need to do is not asking, but knowing and reckoning the fact, like Watchman Nee wrote in his book. And he also wrote that what we need to do is not praying to ask for something, but praising God for it, as it’s already given to us. Isn’t it marvelous? We need to realize that Christ lives in us, not ourselves any more. We died on the cross when He died. Now He was resurrected and He abides in us. All we need to do is to surrender totally to the Holy Spirit. He works in us, not we, ourselves.
Friend, you might have watched the news on the first image of the cosmos from NASA’s James Webb space telescope. The beautiful galaxies 13.8 billion years ago. Seriously, I don’t even get the feel of how old it is, but certainly I am in awe of His majesty. He is the Creator and Possessor of the universe and He is from eternity to eternity. Then, I became overwhelmed by His goodness. We don’t even understand how vast He is. He cannot be contained. Yet that Creator of the universe wants to dwell in us. He is looking for His dwelling place in us. Isn’t it awesome? You and I have that Creator of the galaxies made billions years ago in us.
Finally, I would like to share a beautiful story that Pastor John Fenn shared in a weekly thought, “You Might Be a Legalistic Believer if…” back in 2016. It’s about his first son, Chris, and his best friend. We know our Father loves children. When I read this story for the first time, my eyes were in tears. Many times, children indeed know the Father better than anyone. I hope you and I are childlike and we enter His Kingdom.
Have a bliss!
“At the group home where our oldest son, Chris, lives most of the week, is another Christian, and she and Chris are the best of friends. The bonding in the Spirit of these 2 ‘mentally retarded’ adults, to use the old expression, took place years ago the moment they met at the group home, without any effort on the part of any parent or staff. (Chris is mentally about 4, though nearly 37. His friend similar.)
When she is upset the staff noticed (on numerous occasions that continue to this day) Chris grab her hand and tell her “It’s okay _____, Jesus is with us”, and he will also just touch her arm and say “Jesus name!” after she has fallen and hurt herself, which happens due to her condition quite often.
When we bring Chris back to the group home after his weekly 2 day visit home, we usually have a meal before – McDonald’s or Pizza Hut for instance – and he often insists on bringing her some fries or pizza. Back at the group home I roll him to the table and she sits down next to him, and Chris tells her about his time with us. She shakes her head in agreement, hanging on his every word, eating a french fry here and there, like they were on a date all by themselves at a burger joint. It’s so cute and innocent and pure.
We wonder what heaven will bring when they can build on their friendship without the hinderances of damaged ‘earth bodies’.
While Chris loves watching Christian TV shows like “Gospel Bill” and “Animated Stories of the Bible”, and he looks at picture Bibles – he doesn’t know how to read. He has never written a thing in a journal about the Lord, he has no set prayer time, only goes to church occasionally when we bring him to house church functions or one of the staff takes the residents to a local church from time to time.
The same can be said of his best friend. Yet they are two of the most spiritually gifted, pure hearted, genuinely loving people you’d ever want to meet – they put the rest of us ‘normal’ Christians to shame in so many ways. Chris told me one day “Know what Jesus said to me dad? He’s going to walk through the mountains with me, yep, that’s what He said, He’s going to walk through the mountains with me one day. Yahoo! That’s so cool!” (As he laughed to himself) Yet Chris has no structure to his spiritual life at all.
As Chris and she were eating the remains of some french fries one day, the house manager who is also a believer, pulled me aside and told me this story as her eyes welled up with tears due to the beauty and innocence of the moment. Chris’ friend had been having some health issue and needed a chest x-ray. As the manager was explaining to her that they wanted to take a picture of her heart, her eyes filled with wonder and great eagerness as she asked with all innocence and sincerity, “Will they see Jesus?”
That’s the big question, isn’t it? If they looked at our heart, would they see Jesus? Chris and his friend don’t measure their walk with the Lord by their spiritual discipline, for they have none. They just walk with the Lord. They remain as children and have not only entered the kingdom of God, but walk with Him in it. It is only we so called ‘normal’ people who complicate child-like faith with all sorts of encumbrances…”
O Lord, our Lord,