Newsletter January, 2006

ORLANDO CHINESE CHURCH

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

December, 2005


The Spirit of Joy

 

Reading: Prov. 17:22, Psalm 16:11, 90:15, Gal. 5:22-23, II Cor. 13:11

 

A man may possess much wealth, but only God can make him satisfied. We may see many wealthy men, but few persons of true contentment. The opposite is more prevalent, namely, a rich man continues to gather, because he is not satisfied, or as the Bible puts it, he is "thirsty". John 4:13-14 says, "Every one that drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life." A true believer may have few material things, but can still testify that "the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1). When the Lord shows him the way of life, he can live in God's will and know that he is pleasing God. Consequently, such a person can have true joy in his whole being and rest in the hope of glory.

 

To have an abiding spirit of joy one needs to be filled with the heavenly wisdom. He can objectively control his own mood and his circumstances with the help of the Lord. He is self-assured, for in Christ he knows his direction of life. The man with the spirit of joy is willing to be disciplined through Bible reading and prayer in order to gain this joy. He is also willing to do good, leading others to this blessed life. Our Lord Jesus himself is the best example. He said, " I come so they may have life, and have it more abundantly".

 

Inevitably Christians experience suffering in this world. Sometimes we suffer even more, if we are to be a partaker of His suffering (Rev. 1:9). Being created, we are so limited and fragile in this life, and subject to God's judgment in the life to come. How can we stand firm in the search for a way of joy and life? Psalm 90:15 gives the answer, saying "make us joyful according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil." Only through faith in the Spirit one can walk this path of the cross and not falter (Ps. 18:33). With God's grace, the righteous can be affirmed of the faithfulness and mercy of our covenant God. By relying on Him and drawing strength from Him, one will be renewed and rejoicing (Isa. 40:29-31).

 

Because of our corrupted nature, the greater the gift one receives, the more liable one will corrupt. The Apostle Paul was aware of this danger of being exalted over much because of the exceeding greatness of the revelation he received. God loved him, and constrained him in time with a thorn in his flesh.

 

No one likes the thorn for it brings pain. But being from God, it comes with grace. He does not want His children to be proud of the gifts, so He places in them the thorn. As a result, they may be kept in His grace, not in pride. Paul was taken once to the third heaven, and heard the words of paradise (II Cor. 12:1-6). For such, a thorn was placed in his flesh, which he called the messenger of Satan buffeting him. But God granted him sufficient grace so His power was made complete in Paul's weakness (II Cor. 12:7). God made him aware of his own weakness. Whenever he became proud, the thorn causes him to depend on God. He had to withdraw from self into Christ, so His power would rest upon him. The most secure place is in Christ. Therefore, Paul said, "Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong."

 

Gal. 5:22-23 tell us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. To be led by the Spirit, one bears such a fruit, which is the best evidence of victory and maturity. The present liberty in Christ is the true liberty. One would no longer live according to the flesh, but walk in the Spirit to have everlasting joy.

 

II Cor. 13:11, "Finally, brethren, rejoice. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

 

Father's Heart

 

 

So suddenly, Dad was taken to be with the Lord. In my reasoning I know that this would take place sooner or later, and he has now rested from all the toils of this life; this is best for his own sake. However, emotionally I can not let it go in my heart. Many thoughts went through my mind so that I could hardly write. A thousand words cannot express my regret to Dad, and it hurts so much. I regret that I did not spend enough time to care for him, to talk to him or to listen to him. I regret that I owe him so much, and now have no way of paying him back. Unless one experiences the same, one can never understand such regret and sorrow.

 

All the recollections point to the lovely memories of how he raised us the six children and brought us up one by one. He could have stayed back in Taiwan, enjoying a comfortable retirement. But, he had concerns for all the children and grandchildren over here, and wanted to share in their burdens and hardship. So at the age of seventy-six, he left the place he was familiar with, and came to this strange land of strange tongue, for the sole purpose of giving a hand to his off-springs. He threw himself into every life of the younger generations. All their problems became his problems, and often his headaches. All the burdens were carried on his shoulder, with weariness upon his heart. O Dad, for thirteen years those sufferings turned your hair white and made your back hunch, to a point you had to turn to God....

 

When I give thanks to God for Dad and entrust in tears my earthly father unto the heavenly Father, the divine light shone upon me causes me to think if I have equally neglected my heavenly Father, just as much and just as deep:

 

The Father loves me, and desires me to visit with Him often and sit at His feet.

The Father likes me to talk to Him, telling Him my joy and sorrow.....and trusting Him.

The Father wishes me to walk with Him and listen to Him in His heart-felt sigh.

The Father is willing to see me often; would He be hurt when I turn Him down because I am so busy?

The Father hopes me to love my brothers and sisters; do I instead judge others with my own standards?

The Father's heart, is it filled with loneliness because He is disappointed in me?

 

Nevertheless, the heavenly Father continues to love me with His everlasting love!

 

When the heavenly Father looks at me in my abiding and fellowship with Him, how His heart would be satisfied.

 

O loving Father, make me love Thee more, much more! (Teresa)