Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Book I Read: Journey Out of Nothing




I picked up this book and finished reading it overnight. Having live in a Buddhist country for 12 years, this book is informative and helpful. Although, this is about Zen Buddhism instead of Theravada, the basic tenets are the same.

While in his twenties and thirties, international journalist and best-selling author Martin Roth, living in Japan, became deeply involved in Zen Buddhism. So much so that he co-authored a reference work on the subject, “Zen Guide.”

Now he explains the attraction of Buddhism to himself and to other young Westerners. He also recounts – often in amusing detail - some of his adventures.

He became possibly the first Westerner to complete a famous pilgrimage to thirty-three temples in northern Japan. On another pilgrimage he spent three days hiking through some of Japan’s holiest mountains, sometimes standing under frigid waterfalls in purification rituals. He stayed at famous monasteries, often participating in morning worship services full of dazzling ceremonies.

He introduces some of the fascinating people he met. These include the young priest who lived and meditated in a giant soy sauce barrel; the professor who devised “commuting Zen” meditation for his strap-hanging one-and-a-half-hour rail commute to work each day; and the American advertising executive who became head of his own Japanese Zen temple, a place where Caroline Kennedy, now US ambassador to Japan, stayed during her honeymoon.
But he also explains why his interest in Buddhism began to fade, and why, today, he is a Christian.

This short book (18,000 words), part travel adventure, part memoir, part spiritual odyssey, will entertain and inform.

Contents:
Introduction
Chapter One – First Steps
Chapter Two – Learning about Buddhism
Chapter Three – A Series of Newspaper Columns
Chapter Four – Writing a Book
Chapter Five – Zen Adventures
Chapter Six – Was I a Buddhist?
Chapter Seven – Kyoto
Chapter Eight – Heading North
Chapter Nine – Christian Zen
Chapter Ten – Buddhist Art
Chapter Eleven – Doubts
Chapter Twelve – Becoming a Christian
Chapter Thirteen – Buddhism and the Book of Ecclesiastes
Chapter Fourteen – Talking with Buddhists

Monday, August 06, 2018

Book I read: Letters From A Skeptic




I have been reading lately. Since I have not been posting more often, I thought it would be a good idea to post the books I have read in the last couple of years. Here is a book by Gregory A. Boyd. The simplicity and clarity of his writing got me interested in reading more of his works. His correspondence with his father (who was in his 70's) has provided a personal and emotional elements in a deep and yet simple theological answers to common questions about God that agnostics are asking. However, I believe that even Christians who have the nagging questions about God and their faith would find most of the answers helpful.

Here is the short description of the book and a review by reader Jill Heatherly:

Greg Boyd and his father, Ed, were on opposite sides of a great divide. Greg was a newfound Christian, while his father was a longtime agnostic. So Greg offered his father an invitation: Ed could write with any questions on Christianity, and his son would offer a response.
Letters from a Skeptic contains this special correspondence. 

The letters tackle some of today's toughest challenges facing Christianity, including

  • Do all non-Christians go to hell?
  • How can we believe a man rose from the dead?
  • Why is the world so full of suffering?
  • How do we know the Bible was divinely inspired?
  • Does God know the future?


Each response offers insights into the big questions, while delivering intelligent answers that connect with both the heart and mind. Whether you're a skeptic, a believer, or just unsure, these letters can provide a practical, common-sense guide to the Christian faith.

Edward Boyd's agnosticism rested "not ... too much on any positive position ... but rather on a host of negative ones" about Christianity. In an attempt to address these negative issues, his son Greg, a professor of theology, asked his father, a strong-willed, highly intelligent, and stubborn 70-year-old, to enter into a correspondence in which "all of their cards would be laid on the table." Greg would give his father the opportunity to raise all his objections to the veracity of Christianity, and Greg would "answer these objections as well as give positive grounds for holding to the Christian faith."

Three years and more than 30 letters later, Letters from a Skeptic was published and Edward Boyd came to accept Christ. During his journey, he and his son hash through such topics as why the world is so full of suffering; why an all-powerful God needs prayer; how you can believe in someone who rose from the dead; and how another man's death can pardon others. Despite their brutal honesty, both men exhibit respect and love toward one another as they address these volatile subjects. In Edward's second response to Greg, he boldly says, "Well, your distinction between the 'Christian Church' and 'Christians' is interesting and novel, but frankly, I don't buy it." Greg responds, saying, "I've got to admit that you are raising some extremely good points in your letters. You are raising the most difficult questions a theist can face." 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A miracle in the midst of tragedy


This is the message I shared at the church about the 12 football team and their coach trapped in Tham Luang Cave. I shared this message on the first of July, the eighth day that the team hadn’t found yet. Everyone was sad and expecting the worst. Somehow, deep in my heart I believed that they were still alive and safe inside the cave. As you already know, they had been found on the next day and eventually successfully rescued.

Last Sunday, we woke up with the news about the 12 children and their coach trapped inside Tham Luang Cave. The rescue efforts have been going on for several days now. We are amazed on how many people, organizations and companies who are willing to help. Tragedy likes this draws the best from the people. It also shows that in doing good we have unity. We hope and pray that all the children are alive and safe.

Perhaps some of us personally know some of the children. We happen to know one of the boys from Mae Sai Grace Church and three of our children are classmates and friends to four of them.

We are praying and hoping that they can be rescued sooner than later. We pray for the family of the children and we pray for the people who are doing the rescue.

As a believer, how do we deal with tragedy like this?
What can we learn from tragedy?

We learn that God is in control

Perhaps I should say here that we are reminded that God is in control.

There are times when we are outside and a strong wind blows, the clouds get dark, lightning and thunders roar, and heavy rain falls. What is the first thing that we normally do? We get inside into some shelter. We go inside our homes, we closed all the windows and we sit back, watch TV or we go to bed and take a nap that you get to take when it’s raining outside.

However, what happens when the storm is so strong that destroys our house? The storm is so strong that it rips the roof off and the rain get inside our house? Then we come to realize that the shelter we think can protect us is not so safe after all.

We see, there is a shelter that we can find refuge that can withstand any storm we face, not built by human and is not made with bricks and cement. We can read in Psalm 46 verse 1-7 that:

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Here we learn that God alone is the shelter that we should find refuge during the storms of life. No matter what we face in life, we can be assured that God is in control. When we are facing tragedy or when we are worried that someone close to us is facing tragedy, we can pray with confidence and trust God completely because He is in control.

We learn just how important a relationship with God is!

When tragedy happens, we will see two groups of people.

One group of people are those who try to rescue people. They worked hard and sacrifice themselves to save others. We appreciate what these people are doing. They are good people.

Second there are group of people will take advantage of the situation and would try to gain something for themselves. In fact, the police announced that there are people who are asking for donations and giving their bank accounts. But the police warned that nobody should give cash donations. These people are not doing good.

We are reminded here that Satan can use people to do bad things. At the same time, God can use people to do good things this time of tragedy. But I believe that what is important is that every people, good and bad, need Jesus Christ.

In Luke chapter 13, Jesus used a tragedy to make this point. A tower in Siloam collapsed and 18 people had died. Many people thought that those who died are bigger sinners than everyone else and that God was punishing them.

Jesus taught that it doesn’t matter how small or big their sins. They were all equally guilty and that if the people don’t repent they are going to die too. He reminds them that in the midst of tragedy we are all going to face death someday and we need to repent and turn our lives to God.

We don’t know when tragedy will happen to us, but I believe the most important truth that will help us to get through suffering and tragedy is that we know and have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

We learn that we will really never know “Why?”

When tragedy happens, the first question we ask is “why?” In this life, we may never know the “whys” of everything, especially what happened to the 12 boys and their coach. If we will have a chance to talk with people who are ask, why did God let this happen? Why these 13 people have to suffer? We can honestly tell them that we don’t always know the answer to the question “why?”

But there is one important truth that we know. We can encourage them that God is our shelter that will be with them during and will bring them through tragedy. We live in imperfect world, sickness and accidents happen. This isn’t heaven and we cannot expect that our lives here will be like heaven.

One thing we do know is that bad things happen in this fallen world. In a world full of sin, bad things are going to happen. That’s why we must hold on so desperately to the only one that can rescue us from sin. That is Jesus Christ.

The worst tragedy has nothing to do in this world. The greatest tragedy is that many people in this world has no relationship with God. We know how to help them, yet many times we don’t do anything about it.

If anybody of us is given a chance to meet these children, we hope we can let them know about God and how God loves them that His son died on the cross for their sins. We hope we can still have a chance to pray for them and love them when all this is over.
What can we do in tragedy?

In Nehemiah chapter 1 verses 3 to 4:
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. “4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

If we will read further, we see this wonderful prayer of Nehemiah, which deserves more and closer study than we can give it this morning. We don’t have the time to study about Nehemiah’s prayer here, but we know for sure that he sat down, wept and prayed for those people who were experiencing tragedy. What can we do in tragedy?

The first thing that we must do is pray.

As Christian, we neglect our duty when we fail to pray to pray for the people who are hurting and suffering. This was Nehemiah’s first and most natural response to the tragedy he was facing. He went to prayer. When people are facing tragedy, when we ourselves are facing tragedy, we must pray. Why?

Remember that first point we said a while ago, that we learn from tragedy that God is in control. We can pray and trust God because he is in control.

I know everyone wants to go to Tham Luang and volunteer to help. We want to do something. But at this point in time, the best help that we can do is not to go there and be a distraction and hindrance to the people who are doing their best to help rescue the children.

However, we can continue to pray that God that although they haven’t been found yet, pray that God will sustain the children, that they are still alive and safe. We can also continue praying for the children, their family and the people who sacrifice to save the children.

The second thing we can do is give

When a tragedy happens, there will always people who will be in need. We can do it individually or we can give through the church. I know some of us have already given. As I think about this tragedy, the 13 people are not the only one who are in need right now. There are many people who are sacrificing their time and work to help. They also need help.

We praise the Lord that the Christian community and churches in Mae Sai are doing their part to help. But we give not to attract attention to ourselves, we give because people are in need.

The third thing we can do is help

There are people facing personal tragedy around us all the time. It is just that their tragedy doesn’t make the news. They may have lost a loved one or are in need of food or clothing. Some lost their job, or their spouse left them. We personally know stories like this.

There are people hurting all around us every single day, yet we get so busy and don’t realize it. During times of tragedy, our heart opens up to people who are hurting. Especially now that we know some people who now are in tragedy. Now we suddenly get unselfish and we start wanting to help.

We are praying that this tragedy will be over. And when it is over, we hope that as a church we can continue to help these 13 people and their families. Not only through giving them material things but to help them overcome their bad experience by helping them emotionally, psychologically and I believe the most important is that we may be able to help them spiritually.

As I said, there are people around us who have personal tragedy that do not make the news. They may be our neighbors, our friends, maybe even in our family, and maybe in our church.

This a challenge for us, let us help people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.

This is also posted in my other blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Beginning of a New Decade


Happy New Year!

As the year ended, we could not help but once again remember God’s faithfulness. 2017 is the beginning of a new decade for us here in the mission field. We arrived in Thailand on the 6th of January 2006, with three luggages, meager support and three children, nobody thought (including ourselves) that we could even last for a couple of years.

But here we are, with God’s care and provisions and with our friends’ love and sacrifices. We are ready to face another decade of ministry. We will continue serving God and helping people to find their freedom in Christ.

In Thailand, they don’t celebrate Christmas or at least they do not know the real reason why Christians celebrate it. Although it is not considered as a holiday, the supermarkets and shopping malls are full of Christmas stuff on sale and Christmas songs filled the air. This is the time of the year when Thai people are open to listen to the true message of Christmas. This Christmas, the Lord had given us several opportunities to be in that situation-share the message.

Christmas Activities

We are thankful to God that the Tesaban 1 Municipal school asked us to sing carols and explain the meaning of Christmas at the school during their flag ceremony. We thought it was a great opportunity to involve our church in the activity. Our church’s youth joined us in the singing and our Pastor, Ajan Sunit shared the message.


We also had the privilege to join several Christmas activities. First, we organized the New Life Creations Foundation Christmas Party. Second, we had the opportunity to be part of Pantamit Church’s Christmas outreach program in Baan Nana, one of the biggest children shelters in Mae Sai. Lastly, for three years now, we had been invited to be part of the Christmas program for the School for the Blind in Mae Sai. We are praying that our working relationship with the School of the Blind will grow deeper. We pray that we may be able to help through connecting them with people who have called to work with the blind.

English Camp at Tesaban 1 

Narlin is doing what she does well, organizing English camp at schools. Joey has to excuse himself to take the time to write this newsletter. She had been planning this English Camp (with YWAM-Madison Team) for more than a month when Teacher Jar (the head of the school English department) told us that two other teams from Univeristy in the US would join the activities. So instead of having 7 people from YWAM, we ended up with 18 volunteer teachers from the US.


It is a big group, but by God’s grace we are on the last day of the English camp and as far as we can see, it was a success. We are once again, thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve the children at the school. We also have helped the teachers and our good relationship with the school has grown stronger. All for the glory of God.

Family Update

We considered going home to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas with our family. But we thought it would be better if our children, Jared, Jillian and Reuven, would come to here to celebrate with us and also that they would be reconnected with their little brothers and sisters. Nuch came home from Chon Buri to join us. That was the first time in five years that we were reunited.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Vision Realized


As we enter the final quarter of 2016, we see how God put into reality the ministry which three years ago was just a vision.  It was in 2013 when we first met Larry and talked about our common burden to rescue, protect and empower young women and children against the evil of human trafficking.

We learned from an NGO called DEPDC that many exploited workers (mostly women) in Bangkok and South Thailand come from Northern Thailand. They are either illegally transport from neighboring countries of Myanmar and Laos or recruited through middlemen from very poor families in the tribal villages.

We thank the Lord for this opportunity He has given to us to help these young women and children through New Life Creations Foundation. Our ultimate goal is for these young women and children to have a personal relationship with the Father through Jesus and experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord! This vision is now a reality.

School Break

The school will be closed for two weeks. The children will be staying in the house and either Narlin or Joey needs to stay at home to look after them.  When the children are in the school, we are shuffling our time to work for New Life Creations Foundation and Sak Saum Thailand.

Thank you for your prayers and support for our ministry with the children.  Your continued prayers and financial support make it possible for us to take care of the children and send them to school. They are also active in the church and may soon be part of the worship team. The Lord is indeed faithful to provide for our needs.

Please continue to help us pray for a new house. Our landlady advised us that anytime she calls, it means we have to leave the house within six months. We have been searching all over the town for a house suitable for the children.  We also started dreaming of buying our own property and build a house. Pray for provision for this specific need.

New Life Creations/Sak Saum Thailand

Our friend and  partner, Larry will be in the US for a couple of months hoping to raise more funds for New Life Creations Foundation and Sak Saum Thailand.  The registration of NLCF with the Thai government took a lot of financial resources. We desire to help younger women by providing them home and skills so that they can support themselves and live in dignity.

We are thankful to the Lord for the Canadian team that visited us last month and shared our ministry in their church.  Their church raised and sent the fund for two industrial and one ordinary sewing machines. We are praying for individuals or churches who are willing to sponsor two more girls and for the rent of the girls’ home and sewing training center. Please help us to pray for this ministry to rescue, protect and empower young women against human trafficking.

Moreover, we formally signed an MOU with Sak Saum Cambodia. They will allow us to make for them selected “approved” products and will help us to market them in the US. They made order for scarves, wallets and bags and surprisingly, the girls were up to the challenged and were able to fulfill the orders within three weeks. We pray and hope that through this partnership with Sak Saum we can sustain the salary for the girls and the rent for their home and sewing training center.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sigh... Been Neglecting This Blog

I have been neglecting this blog and I feel bad. I am doing a lot of blogging about our ministry projects and I thought to myself, why should not have my own blog. Then I remember I have one which I have been neglecting. I hope to revive this and write about my theological thinking which I have not been really doing lately except for sermons that I write when I do my regular preaching.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rainy days


It’s rainy season here in Thailand and aside from the humidity, we are loving it. It turns the mountains, fields and almost everything around us into a lively green. The air that had been heavily polluted is now refreshingly clean. The birds unceasingly singing beautiful notes. This reminds us once again of God’s love and faithfulness. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:8-11) We are sharing with you the highlights of our ministry activities from the last month.

NLC Foundation/Saksaum Thailand Facilities
While we were in the Philippines, NLC/Saksaum Thailand leadership team found a suitable place for Saksaum’s training centre and girls’ home. An apartment at the front along the road is used as the Foundation office. The leadership team with Thae and prospective girls worked so hard to clean the place which was abandoned for more then five years. So when we came in the place looked clean and presentable. A team from Colorado came and helped paint the houses. At the moment, we are doing necessary works that are needed to be done. We are thankful to the Lord for this ministry, the leadership team, staff and now the two girls that are already undergoing sewing training. We are thankful for our leader, Larry, and for churches who are helping him with the needed fund.

Joey has shingles
 A week after we arrived in Thailand, Joey was already complaining of pain and numbness on the left side of his body. He ignored the pain and just kept on working until rashes and blisters appeared. The pain became unbearable. Blisters also started appearing on his arms and face. (The doc said it is totally unrelated to shingles.) We wanted to go to Overbook Hospital but out truck broke down again. So we ended up going to a famous dermatologist here in Mae Sai. It entailed waiting for two hours. His patients are just too many. But he is really good. Joey has shingles, he needs some rest and strengthen his immune system. It may last for another week, but the worst is over. We thank the Lord for healing. We thank all those who are praying for us and our health.

Thanksgiving Prayers
 Our last “quick update” was an appeal for help for Narlin’s hospitalisation and for our ministry vehicle. We usually don’t do this, however, we think that the money we have been saving must be used primarily for the children’s needs—food, clothing, education and shelter. So we are thankful for those who provide financial assistance for Narlin’s hospital fees. Thank you so much.

We are also thankful for the opportunity of being part of the ministry of great needs here in Mae Sai. Saksaum Thailand already ha stwo girls in training but it will probably open officially open in 30th of July. Please continue to pray for NLC Foundation and Saksaum Thailand.

We are thankful for Rocky, our truck. It has served us for five years already and is becoming old. We think it still has many years of usefulness. But this year, it has broken down more often than usual. We are praying for a new ministry vehicle and we believe that a van is more suitable for our present need. A friend sent us the seed money for the new vehicle. We are praying it will grow.

We are thankful for the children. They have grown up to be responsible and disciplined. Although they still need constant supervision, they are growing up to be a good model to other children in the church and community. By God’s grace, we are hoping to take care of them until they finish their university.

We are thankful that our work permit is already extended for another year. Our visa will expire on the 20th of July and its extension is based on the validity of our work permit. Please pray that the visa renewal will go smoothly this year. We are thankful for our children in the Philippines. They are taking their education seriously and for God’s guidance, protection and provision for them. We hope to see them again soon.

Thanks again for your friendship and partnership in the ministry. Until the next update. God bless you.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Fruitful New Year


Happy New Year! We are thankful to the Lord for his faithfulness for the year that passed and we look forward to another fruitful year to come. We pray that the Lord will give us the resources and opportunities to help young women and more children at risk. Most importantly, we are praying that Jesus will reveal more of himself to these people through these projects.

This year, we are taking our New Life Garden (NLG) team verse (Jeremiah 29:11-12) as our family verse too.
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.

We are sending this update from the Philippines. We are grateful for our friend, Leah, who (surprisingly) find ways for us to be home on new year to celebrate God’s faithfulness in our lives and in our church too. We are at the moment enjoying the remaining times of our stay here with our children.

Thanks again for your continued support, love and prayers. We are sharing to you the ministry that we had last Christmas season.

Christmas Activities

When we came to Thailand ten years ago, we often heard people say that there is no Christmas celebration in the country. But I think that notion has already changed. The Thais are more aware of the commercialisation of Christmas rather than its spiritual meaning.

For this reason, we believe that Christmas is a day when many Thais are open to the message of the gospel. Thai churches have their Christmas party that is open to all the people from the community in a effort to impart to the people the real meaning of Christmas.

Hence, we, the NLG team carefully planned and held a party at Santhad Village on Christmas day. We gave gifts to those who attended and explained that Jesus is the greatest gift that a person can have in his life. The children also told the story of the birth of Jesus through a dramatic presentation of the nativity. The show was successful in getting the people’s full attention in learning the story of the birth of Jesus.

We also participated in our church’s Christmas Party. Our children performed a traditional Thai dance and they did perform the same dance at a Christmas party in the School for the Blind Foundation.

Another town event that we participated is the Ten Tribes of Mae Sai Festival. This event was totally a secular activity for businesses and organisations who put up their booth for selling their products and services. We put up a booth promoting the activities of the Network for Women and Children Protection, NLG, Rainbow Homes and other community and social projects that we are doing.

2016 Opening Activities

The year 2016 has begun and we believe that it is appropriate that we spend the first few days of the year with our children in the Philippines. We’ll be back in Thailand on the 15th of January.

Please include in your prayers our activities this month. Upon arriving we will have a YWAM team from Wisconsin. This partnership has started five years ago and the traditions of the team taking care of the children to give us a weekend break has become a tradition. We are looking forward to it not because of the break but because we know that the children will have a wonderful time with people from across the seas.

The team will do English teachings at schools in the village. We are also hoping that the village leader will be able to organise Conversational English teaching for adults. Please help us to pray for this ministry opportunity.

In February, we will be joining the other NLG team members in a visit to a community project for young women that we will pattern our ministry with. The project is about training the young women with skills that they can use so that they can earn a decent income to save them from prostitution and other forms of exploitation.

Thanksgiving Prayers

Once again, we want to share many wonderful deeds that the Lord has done in our lives and the lives of our children.

  • We are thankful for God’s continuous provisions for the children’s schooling. The Lord has been using friends like you who are faithful in their contributions. Pray that we will be able to get Fluke this year.
  • We are thankful for his goodness to our own children in the Philippines. Jared passed the teacher’s board examination and Jillian will be graduating in May. Reuven just finished his first term with minimal difficulties. Please continue to pray for them. Their financial, spiritual and educational needs.
  • We are thankful for the opportunity to help more children. Also for the opportunity to work with NLG. We are envisioning to help more young women and perhaps the elderly too. We hope that as we minister to these people, Jesus will reveal more of himself to them.
  • We are thankful for the opportunity to preach and share the word of God. Thankful for the church that we can call our family in Thailand.
  • We are thankful for Narlin’s healing in the due time. We are thankful for friends who helped us with her hospitalisation and medication.
  • We are thankful for friends who continues to believe in us and the works we are doing to help children and share God’s LOVE. We are so blessed to have you as our partner. May God bless and keep you.

In behalf of the children, we thank you for your love, prayers and generosity. Praying that God will bless you more and more.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

If You Love The Lord

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Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.-Psalma 97:10-12

This morning, I want to ask you a question. Do you love God? If so, how much? And do you ever say to God, “I love you”? When we love God, he loves us back more. The truth is God loves us first, otherwise, we would not know what love is.

The Bible says in I John 4:10 10: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Let those who love the Lord hate evil. Why should we love God and hate evil at the same time? Because the two are completely opposed to each other! There is good in the world and there is evil. God is good and even beyond good. He is love. And He hates evil and if He hates evil He also wants us to hate evil.

I heard it said a long time ago that if we have no hatred for evil then how can we love that which is good? So it seems reasonable that if we love God who is totally good then we will also hate that which is evil.

This morning, we will learn what will happen to us if we love the Lord. What we will enjoy if we truly love God.

God Will Guard Our Lives (v. 10)

10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

This verse clearly says that God will protect our lives. Because God saves us he will keep us safe. Those who love the Lord will have the assurance that God will protect us from evil and the enemy could not hurt us.

He will not only keep us safe but he will save us from the hand of Satan and will keep us by His side until we enjoy his presence when we die or when Jesus comes again.

A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out and bring her the broom. The little boy turned to his mother and said, "Mama, I don't want to go out there. It's dark." The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. "You don't have to be afraid of the dark," she explained. "Jesus is out there. He'll look after you and protect you."

The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, "Are you sure he's out there?" "Yes, I'm sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him," she said. The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the darkness, he called, "Jesus? If you're out there, would you please hand me the broom?”

Are you or were you ever afraid of the dark? Or something in the dark? Call on Jesus! It’s always smart to call on the Lord no matter what you fear or whatever you need in life. Are you afraid to go to far places to share Jesus? Don’t be afraid because God promise that he will always be with you. Are we afraid to stand up here and proclaim how Jesus saves us? Pray to the Lord and God will be the one who will speak for you.

God Will Make Our Light Shine Brighter (v. 11)

11 Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.

Would you agree that we are living in a very dark world? The Bible makes it clear that the world is full of darkness. Our world is full of corruptions, sin and selfishness. People are thinking only about themselves. Satan knows that if he can give people material things, they will be under his power. WE are living in a very dark world.

But Jesus is the light of the world and if we believe in him, we became his light. But if we love the Lord, he makes our lights shine brighter.

Have you ever went inside the Tham Luang Cave? Three years ago, we went inside the big cave. If you are inside the cave and you don’t have light, the cave was totally dark. You cannot see anything. So sometimes I wonder if you go deep inside the cave and lost your light. I imagine you can get lost and maybe you may not find your way out. It is so scary.

It is so depressing to live in darkness. We are living in a dark world. If you watch the news on TV you see more corruptions, crimes, shootings, rapes and murders. But the good news is it only need a small light to make this dark world becomes light. If only each of us will love God more, we can make this word, our community where we live in a brighter place.

God Will Bring Joy to Our Hearts (v. 11b-12)

….and joy on the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

If we love God we will have joy in our hearts. We find joy in the Lord and in our relationship with Him. This joy last forever and will not end in the passing of time. To many people, being happy is a matter of what is happening. So if good things happen they are happy, and good things do not happen, they are not happy. That is the way of the world.

Many of us who are older realise that lasting joy is not happiness based on what is happening in our lives. Most of the time, money, new car, new house, new phones, new gadgets make us happy. The Bible says that material things will not make us happy forever. It is only temporary. There is only one way we can have joy in this life forever, and that is through having Jesus Christ in our lives.

Dr. James Dobson of the Focus on the Family Ministry says, “Although I am not rich, I have tasted most of the things people want for. I had new cars, beautiful home, gadgets, devices which promise to set us free. But the truth is they can not give us satisfaction. On the contrary, I found out that the things you own will eventually own you.”

I agree and I look at people today buying a lot of things that they think can make them happy and will give them joy. But they become a slave of the things they bought. We spend so much time making our house beautiful, repairing our car, using our phones instead of spending time with our families and spending time with the Lord and his Word.

Conclusion

There is one way we can be assured of God’s protection, shining our light and have a lasting joy and happiness in this world. That is through believing in Jesus Christ and to love him with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength, all our soul.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Thankful for Prayers

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It’s been a month since Narlin suffered from deafness and vertigo. She was diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL). It has been a rough journey for her. The doctor requested an MRI to make sure that her deafness was not caused by tumor. We are relieved and thankful that the result indicates that everything is normal. However, the chance of her hearing will return is 50 only percent. The best that the doctor can do is to prescribe medicines for the dizziness (so that she can do things normally) and to give nutrients for the auditory nerve.

We are overwhelmed by prayers and encouragements from friends. Since we don’t have any health insurance, Narlin’s hospitalisation, MRI, medicines and treatments have been a financial burden for us this month. But we trust that the Lord will provide for this particular need.

Growing Challenge

The children are growing up and taking care of them is getting to be more challenging. We found out that the boys were sneaking out at night to play online game at a nearby computer shop. Jennifer discovered about it when Narlin was hospitalised. A heart to heart talk followed and we emphasised that they need to follow the house rules while they are living with us.

We expect more challenges with the girls in the near future. Please help us to pray for all the children. That the Lord will give them wisdom and obedient heart as they grow up. Pray that the Lord will provide love, patient and wisdom in raising up these wonderful kids.

Religious Camp

Most Thai school have religious day camp. This is the day when all the students are asked to join Buddhist rituals. We had been thinking of holding a separate religious camp for Christians.
Mae Sai Municipal (Wat Poweehan) is the school close to our heart. The director is our good friend and her assistant (who was just a head English teacher when we first met her) is one of Narlin’s best friends. Last year Teacher Pu, a new English teacher joined the faculty. She is a Christian and she becomes our close friend too. She sometimes stays in our house and goes with us to the church.

Teacher Pu insisted that the Christian students would not participate with the Buddhist religious camp. She pushed for a separate camp for Christian students. So we requested the YWAM-Borders to host the camp for Christian students. Twenty-six students (including our children) attended and fifteen of them have made commitment to follow Jesus.

We are thankful to the Lord that believers are now being recognised in the school. We are praying that this will be an opportunity to share the gospel to the other teachers and students. We are also considering that our ministry in the school is coming to its conclusion and YWAM-Border will take over. We believe that God is directing us to minister to village schools. We don’t know how it will happen but God promised that he will make a way.
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New Life Garden
In our nine years of living in Mae Sai, we had been part of the beginning of new ministries. This year, we are blessed to be part the New Life Garden (Ban Suan Chiwit Mai). A new ministry that seeks to help young women and children from human trafficking. God has given us the opportunity to help connect people, introduce it to the community through English camp, to help in creating English Kid's Club, and English tutorials for young people and adults.

Eventually, we hope to hold training skills and provide shelters for young women. We also coordinated to make the New Life Garden to be a member of Network for Children and Women Under the Same Sky Association (NCWSA). Please pray for this ministry. We don’t know yet how long we will be working in this ministry but we hope that God will use it for his glory and advancement of his Kingdom.

Family Update

We are missing our children. Jared finished his studies and is now teaching in a private school. He will take the teacher’s board exam on Sunday (27 September). Please pray that he can pass the test.
Jillian is on her last year of studies and doing practice teaching at a local school in Baguio. Reuven is freshman taking up psychology. Please pray for protection (we are not there to look after them) and provisions (school expenses and house rent). We hope to be reunited with them in the near future.

More Prayer Concerns
  • Most of the children will go to Bangkok to compete for national English drama competition. Pray for safe travel.
  • School break is just around the corner. Pray for the children’s activities during the break and provisions for another school term.
  • We cancelled all our English teaching (when Jennifer left) to give Narlin a break and time to heal. Please pray our regular students that can come back when she resumes teaching.
  • Preaching is a part of our regular ministry. Please pray that God will use this as channel to share God’s blessing to the Thai people.
We are certain that God has called us to serve him here but without your love, support and prayers, we know that we could not stay here a day longer. We thank the Lord for using you to fulfill his calling in our life. You are a huge blessing to all of us and the people we are helping.