VIDEO China Cry, The Nora Lam Story, Christianity during China’s Cultural Revolution

Jan 12, 2011

China Cry is the true story of love, courage, and struggles of one women-Nora Lam-whose Christian faith leads her to make the ultimate choice between life and death. Set in China some thirty years before the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre, this sweeping dram portrays the harsh reality of the repressive Communist regime and Nora Lam’s indomitable will to survive.

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The Tendency of Inwardness

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:3

When Wendall Woodall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he began recording his journey in a book called Shuffle. His faith in Christ fueled his sense of humor and gave him a basis for daily living. Among his strategies was the habit of volunteering. “A big part of my life is volunteering,” he wrote. “Specifically, I’m talking about when we serve, assist, or in some way help those who are less fortunate than we are…. The Parkinson’s brain tends toward smallness—small steps, small motions, etc. I would say that our brains also tend toward inwardness….It would be so much easier just to stay home and isolate myself from all human contact … But just as I stretch out my fingers, I also stretch out my soul.”

When we serve, it takes our minds off our desire to be served. The danger of being a lover of self is inherent within each of us, regardless of our health. But as we put aside our own desires and become more selfless, we will enrich those around us, show God’s love wherever we are, and develop the mind of Christ.

I intentionally look for ways to get out and serve others so that I’m not just focusing on me and my problems. That’s why I volunteered. Wendall Woodall

The Purification of Our Faith

Hebrews 11:32-40

Although most of us would love to have the heroic faith of the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11, few of us are willing to go through the process God uses to develop this kind of trust. We love reading about the great victories and accomplishments of those who relied upon the Lord, but we cringe at the descriptions in verses 36-38. Though none of us want to go through horrible situations, God uses adversity to purify our faith.

Picture the Lord as a master sculptor standing before a block of marble—that slab is you! Envisioning the hidden work of art within the rock, He lovingly and carefully chips away at everything that does not fit the masterpiece He’s creating.

One of the first areas the Lord deals with is your character. His goal is to shape you into the image of His Son, and there are some traits and attitudes that must be chipped away in order for Him to accomplish the task. His chisel lays bare roots of sin and selfishness.

When anything or anyone becomes more important to us than the Lord, we have an idol in our life. To protect us, God sometimes uses adversity to strip away everything we have relied upon so that we will cling only to Him.

The chisel hurts—it sometimes feels as if God is taking away everything we hold dear. Unless you understand His goal and believe He’s working for your good, you’ll think He’s cruel. But if you trust Him and yield to His shaping tool of adversity, your faith will be purified and strengthened through affliction.

Lean Not

“For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.” (Isaiah 3:1)

Isaiah lived and wrote during a time of spiritual poverty in the nations of Judah and Israel, as well as national decline. He foresaw and foretold in graphic detail the coming captivities of both nations, but was particularly concerned with the state and future of his homeland, Judah, and his hometown, Jerusalem.

The first several chapters of his book consist of a strong denunciation of the practices of the people of Judah. The nation was literally disintegrating due to rampant sin. In preparation for the coming national and ultimate judgments, Isaiah warned against personal pride and reliance on human resources. “The loftiness of man shall be . . . made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (2:17).

In our text, the words “stay” and “staff” are the masculine and feminine forms of the same word, both derived from the word meaning “support,” translated “stay of bread.” Thus, Isaiah uses this idiom and the next several verses to teach that God will remove any semblance of support for this sinful people, whether mighty man, soldier, judge, prophet, seer, elder, captain, artist, orator, or mature ruler (3:2-4), for the purpose of humbling them, “the people shall be oppressed, . . . every one by his neighbour” (v. 5), and demonstrating that the Lord, Jehovah Himself, could be their only real stay or staff. “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious” (4:2).

The word “stay” is elsewhere translated “lean,” “rely,” or “rest.” “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). JDM

“Who is on the Lord’s side.”

Exodus 2:1-10

Exodus 2:4

to wit or know

Faith watches to see what God will do.

Exodus 2:5

Providence is manifest here. How was the ark kept from the crocodiles? Why did the princess come to that particular spot? How came her eye to light upon that little floating coffer hidden among the bulrushes? Why should she desire to look within it? Surely the Lord’s hand was in it all.

Exodus 2:6

The providence which brought the princess to the spot, brought the tears into the babe’s eyes at the very moment when they would be seen, and aid in touching the beholder’s pity.

Exodus 2:7, 8

How graciously the Lord arranges for us.

Exodus 2:9

Thus speaks the Lord to every godly mother. No service upon earth is so well repaid to a parent as the pious nurture of her children.

Hebrews 11:24-26

Hebrews 11:24

He had been so called in his youthful days, but when he could choose for himself he declined the highest rank as an Egyptian, and took his place with persecuted Israel.

Acts 7:22-29

Acts 7:22

His education, when sanctified by God’s Spirit, helped to prepare him for his eminent position as the leader and lawgiver of the tribes. No other prophet until our Lord came was mighty both in words and deeds.

Acts 7:23

The life of Moses divides itself into three forties—forty at court, forty with Jethro, and forty in the wilderness.

Acts 7:24-28

The mission of the greatest and best of men is not at once perceived.

 

Now for the love I bear His name,

What was my gain I count my loss;

My former pride I call my shame,

And nail my glory to His cross.

 

Yes, and I must and will esteem

All things but loss for Jesus’ sake:

Oh may my soul be found in Him,

And of His righteousness partake!

 

Who Said You Had To Deserve What God Gives You?

2 Timothy 2:1

Timothy was the pastor of the world’s largest church of that time—the church of Ephesus. It was also the most famous church in the world. Started by Paul, this illustrious congregation included the apostle John as a church member. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also a member of the church in her old age. It was a church like none other before or after it.

What a privilege it was for Timothy to become the pastor of this well-known and powerful congregation! After working side by side with the apostle Paul for many years, he had finally become the leader of his own work. It was a huge assignment for a young man, but after working with Paul all those years, Timothy was ready to step into his own pulpit as the senior pastor of the cherished Ephesian church. As far as we know, it was the first time in his life he served in such a position.

By the time Paul wrote the book of Second Timothy, however, things weren’t going so well in the city of Ephesus. Nero was persecuting the church, and, as a result, church members were deserting the Lord in order to save their lives. Leaders in the church were waging war with each other over doctrinal issues; others didn’t like Timothy and consequently rebelled against his leadership. This young pastor must have felt like he had a mess on his hands! After receiving the honor of becoming senior pastor of the world’s largest church, he may have felt like he was failing at his job.

Have you ever felt like you were failing with an assignment that was given to you? Or perhaps you feel like you were dealt an unfair hand—that a major assignment was transferred to you just at the point when all hell was about to break loose. Maybe you believe that there was nothing you could have done to change the negative developments that followed. But even if you can logically explain why everything fell apart under your guard, do you still feel responsible for this failure?

It is quite possible that this is how Timothy felt as he presided over the huge church of Ephesus and watched the developing internal problems, such as the defections and the decline in attendance. Many of these things would have occurred regardless of who was senior pastor, but I’m certain Timothy struggled with feeling like he was a dismal failure. He needed a touch from God! He needed strength to stay there and to do what God wanted him to do.

That is why Paul wrote, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). The word “strong” is the Greek word endunamao, and it means to be empowered or to be made strong. If you refer to the January 12 Sparkling Gem, you will see that this is a compound of the words en and dunamis. The word en means in. The word dunamis means explosive strength, ability, and power. It’s where we get the word dynamite.

Thus, this word endunamao presents the picture of an explosive power being deposited into some type of container or vessel, or some other form of receptacle. In this case, the destination of this power was Timothy! He needed power, so Paul told him, “Be strong.” It’s almost as though Paul was saying, “Timothy, it’s time for you to receive the supernatural, dynamic, explosive power that you need! You were designed for this power….”

Because Timothy was struggling with feelings of failure, he probably didn’t feel worthy to receive a supernatural touch. This is why Paul said, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

The supernatural strengthening you need doesn’t come because you deserve it. God makes His supernatural power available to you and me for free! That is why Paul goes on to say, “… Be strong in the grace….” The phrase “in the grace” is important, because it could be translated, “… Be strong BY MEANS

OF the grace that is in Christ Jesus…”

God’s grace makes this strength available to every Christian soldier! This is good news! God’s grace never runs out! His power is available to anyone who releases his or her faith to receive it. And because it’s available by grace—for free—a person doesn’t have to feel worthy to receive it!

As long as there is still grace, there is still a free, supernatural, empowering, inner strengthening available to you—if you reach out and take it. You have to receive a new touch of God’s power freely— by means of God’s grace. The devil will always be around to tell you that you’re not good enough, not worthy enough, not faithful enough to deserve anything from God. But who said you have to deserve anything God gives you? Because Jesus died for you and washed you with His blood, you are a candidate for everything that God possesses!

So quit beating yourself over the head, telling yourself how bad you are and how terribly you’ve failed. If you really did mess up the assignment God gave you, just repent! Then open your heart and ask the Lord to give you a new touch of power so you can get up and start moving again! And if the devil tells you that you’re not worthy to receive a new touch, just answer him: “Devil, I’m going to lay hold of the steady current of God’s power that comes to me as a result of His grace, and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it!”

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I have been made worthy by the blood of Jesus Christ to receive every good thing You have planned and prepared for me. Forgive me for the times I have placed limitations on Your ability to bless me because I thought I wasn’t good enough. It is clear that You want to bless me IN SPITE of me! You are so good to do all the wonderful things You do in my life. Today I thank You for choosing to bless me with the extra strength I so desperately need in my life right now. Thank You for making this power completely available for free!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I declare that thoughts of unworthiness have no place in me. What Jesus does for me, He does for free—just because He loves me. I do not have to worry that I’m not good enough to receive of His goodness, because my feelings don’t have a thing to do with His good pleasure to bless my life. He wants to bless me regardless of anything I do, because it is God’s nature to bless and to do good in my life. Today I receive the power God wants to give me by His grace. I receive it without hesitation, knowing that this is His good pleasure for me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Name ten things God has done for you that you don’t feel you deserved. Write them down and really meditate on the grace of God that has been demonstrated in your life.
  2. Did the Lord bless you in spite of your feelings of unworthiness?
  3. If you need a touch from the Lord today, why don’t you take a few minutes right now to open your heart and let Him fill you to overflowing?

 

Not Everyone Handles Wealth Successfully

According to Proverbs 10:22, God does entrust some people with wealth: “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.

 

Yet the Scriptures warn us against the perils of wealth. For example, the more you have:

 

1. The more people will show up to drain off your resources:

 

When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes.” (Ecclesiastes 5:11)

 

2. The greater the potential for strife among family members:

 

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abrams cattle and the herdmen of Lots cattle.” (Genesis 13:7)

 

3. The greater the temptation to hoard and to take life easy:

 

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12:17-19)

 

4. The greater the tendency to put your hope in material possessions, rather than in God:

 

Charge them that are rich in this world, [not to] trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God… ” (1 Timothy 6:17)

 

5. The greater the tendency to become conceited:

 

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded… ” (1 Timothy 6:17)

 

Perhaps that is why Solomon struck a balance between wealth and poverty in praying,

 

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:18, 19)

 

Clearly, God’s Word instructs us to not love or desire wealth (1 Timothy 6:6-10). However, should God entrust us with riches, we are to then carefully follow Scriptural guidelines on its stewardship, such as those outlined in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.